Japan to start testing its first hydrogen train next month

Commercial services for the two-car 'Hybari' train likely to begin in 2030

epaselect epa07490374 A view of a two-car train on the local Kominato railway line with cherry blossoms in full bloom, which are reflected on the water of a rice paddy field, at a station in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, Japan, 07 April 2019. Japan's cherry blossoms in full bloom attract visitors as the temperature in the city rose to 20.7 degrees Celsius, 3.3 degrees higher than usual.  EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA
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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.

Updated: February 22, 2022, 5:34 AM