World's first hydrogen-powered urban train unveiled in China

China releases world's first hydrogen-powered urban train. (Photos: CGTN)

A Chinese railway equipment company unveiled the world's first hydrogen-powered urban train during a China Brand Day event this week in Shanghai.

The green and low-carbon train, built by the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), can run as fast as 160 kilometers an hour with a range of 600 km.

Some of the train's core technology is borrowed from the Fuxing bullet train. The Fuxing, also known as "rejuvenation," is a high-speed bullet train run by China Railway Corporation.

Digital and intelligent features have been applied on the new urban train. The vehicle adopts the highest level of autonomous driving technology, which can achieve intelligent driving functions such as automatic wake-up, automatic start-stop and automatic return to the depot.

Moreover, the vehicle-to-vehicle communication system is used to optimize the vehicle control process, greatly improving the efficiency and safety reliability of train operations.

A model of the hydrogen-powered urban train is seen at an exposition during the China Brand Day in Shanghai, May 12, 2023.

The train is also equipped with multiple intelligent detection systems with thousands of sensors, which is akin to having an onboard doctor who can self-check and self-perceive at any time. The systems can automatically monitor, diagnose and protect the hydrogen storage system and hydrogen fuel cell system to ensure their safety and reliability during driving.

The train uses 5G high-capacity vehicle-to-ground communication technology to achieve multi-network integration of vehicle-to-ground data transmission. Through big data analysis, the operation status of the train is evaluated to ensure safe driving.

Hydrogen is considered a clean energy source because water vapor is the only byproduct when it is burned as a fuel. It does not produce harmful pollutants or greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide.