Japan’s largest railway company is to begin testing the country’s first hydrogen-fueled train next month in a step toward the nation’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
The two car “Hybari” train — a blend of the word “hybrid” and the Japanese word for a lark — cost about ￥4 billion (US$34.81 million) to develop and can travel up to 140km at a top speed of 100km/h on a single filling of hydrogen.
East Japan Railway Co, which developed the train in partnership with Toyota Motor Corp and Hitachi Ltd, plan to use the trains to replace its diesel fleet while looking for export markets. Commercial services are planned to begin in 2030.
Japan has made hydrogen a key clean-energy source to reach net-zero emissions. Toyota is aiming for a tenfold increase in the production of hydrogen-fueled Mirai cars with its second-generation model, while more fuel-cell buses and commercial vehicles are on the road.
The government has said that it aims to boost the amount of hydrogen use to 20 million tonnes by 2050, while energy companies such as Iwatani Corp and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd are trying to build hydrogen supply chains to bring down its price.
Europe has been a pioneer in hydrogen trains, with Germany rolling out the world’s first train built by Alstom SA in 2018. Siemens AG and Deutsche Bahn AG are developing new regional trains and special fueling stations, to be tested in 2024.
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