CAF has started the dynamic track testing of the hydrogen demonstrator train developed under the FCH2RAIL project being implemented by CAF, DLR, Toyota, Renfe, ADIF, CNH2, IP and Stemmann-Technik.
The pilot train is based on one of Civia electric train, a Renfe commuter trains, in which a new power generation system has been installed. This system, which utilises a hybridisation of energy from hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, has been integrated into the vehicle’s existing traction system.
As a result, it will become one of the first bi-mode demonstrator trains with hydrogen fuel cells. The zero-emissions vehicle concept will be able to run in electric mode on the electrified infrastructure, while the hybrid mode will be used for operating on catenary-free sections.
After successfully performing static testing, the train is ready to start dynamic testing on an external track. With the start of these tests, the consortium will meet the original deadlines set for this phase of testing, demonstrating the consortium’s full commitment to the project.
During the dynamic tests, the hybridisation of the fuel cells and the batteries will be optimised on routes that have been specifically selected as being representative of those that would be used for commercial services, meaning that the new system will be fully tested by a wide range of different power demand conditions.
As a result of these tests, the competitiveness of the new bi-mode hybrid propulsion solution can be evaluated against the diesel trains currently in use on many routes, within the framework of current plans to decarbonize rail transport.
The development of the hydrogen demonstrator train has a budget of EUR 14 million which is being funded by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, formerly FCH2 JU, a European Commission agency dedicated to promoting the development of hydrogen and fuel cells.
In 2021 Toyota Motor Europe was selected to deliver fuel cell modules for the pilot train under the FCH2RAIL project and in February 2022, Iberdrola agreed to provide the clean hydrogen for the pilot project as part of a framework agreement to promote this technology for rail transport.