CAF has said that it has started static tests on a hydrogen-powered demonstrator train that is being developed for the FCH2Rail project.
FCH2RAIL is a consortium of CAF, DLR, Toyota, Renfe, Adif, CNH2, IP and FAIVELEY Stemmann Technik.
The project, meanwhile, has a €14 million budget, 10 million of 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.
The demonstrator train is based on one of RENFE’s ‘CIVIA’ commuter models but has had a new power generation system installed. The system makes use of a hybridization of energy from hydrogen fuel cells and batteries and has been integrated into the vehicle’s existing traction system.
This means it will become one of the very first bi-mode demonstrator trains with hydrogen fuel cells: a zero-emissions vehicle concept that 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.
All equipment comprising the new fuel cell hybrid powerpack has been tested, and CAF has carried out the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic work to install it on the original CIVIA unit. Next, tests will be carried out to validate the integration of this new system, thereby converting it into a zero-emissions bi-mode train.
An early test will be for the correct installation and integration of the new fuel cell hybrid powerpack by checking all the interfaces and their correct operation together with the equipment already installed on the vehicle. A significant milestone will also have been reached following the completion of the tightness tests on the hydrogen system, when the first hydrogen refuelling can take place, and hydrogen is supplied to the fuel cells. Once completed, all the energy required by the train can then be obtained through this new hybrid system.
In all, 100% of the hydrogen consumed during these tests is renewably-sourced.
When these tests, at CAF Zaragoza, are finished, the unit will be ready to start dynamic tests on an external track, planned for this summer.