Japan’s largest railway company will begin testing the country’s first hydrogen-fuelled train next month, in a step towards the nation’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
The two-car Hybari train — a combination of hybrid and the Japanese word for a lark — cost about $35 million to develop and can travel up to 140 kilometres at a top speed of 100 kilometres an hour on a single filling of hydrogen.
East Japan Railway, which developed the train in partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation and Hitachi, plans to use them to replace its diesel fleet and look to export markets. Commercial services should begin in 2030.
Japan has made hydrogen a key clean-energy source to reach net zero. Toyota is aiming for a 10-fold increase in the production of hydrogen-fuelled Mirai cars with its second-generation model, while more fuel-cell buses and commercial vehicles are on the road.
The government has said it aims to boost use of hydrogen to 20 million tonnes by 2050, while energy companies such as Iwatani and Kawasaki Heavy Industries are trying to build hydrogen supply chains to bring down its price.