CAF launched dynamic track testing of the bi-mode demonstrator train with hydrogen fuel cell

CAF launched dynamic track testing of the bi-mode demonstrator train with hydrogen fuel cell

Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF has begun dynamic track testing of its retrofitted Renfe Civia hydrogen battery-powered train for the FCH2Rail project.

The development of a hydrogen-powered train is under the FCH2Rail (Fuel Cell Hybrid Power Pack for Rail Applications) project. FCH2RAIL is a consortium of the following companies: CAF, DLR, Toyota, Renfe, ADIF, CNH2, IP, and Stemmann-Technik. At the heart of the project is a hybrid, bi-modal drive system that combines the electrical power supply from the overhead line with a hybrid power pack consisting of fuel cells and batteries that is independent of the overhead line. With this technology, CAF confirms its commitment to developing zero-emission mobility solutions.

With a budget of 14 million euros, the project aims to develop, demonstrate and approve such a system within the next four years. The project is funded with 10 million euros by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, a European Commission agency dedicated to promoting the development of hydrogen and fuel cells. 

The demonstration train is based on one of Renfe's commuter trains, where a new power generation system has been installed in the existing traction system. It is a zero-emission vehicle concept that will be able to run in electric mode on electrified infrastructure, while hybrid mode will be used for operation on sections without catenary. 

After successful completion of the static tests, the dynamic tests on the outer track are expected to start. During the dynamic tests, the hybridization of fuel cells and batteries will be optimized on routes that have been specifically selected as representative for commercial operation. The new system will thus be fully tested under a wide range of different energy demand conditions. 

Once the dynamics tests will be completed, the competitiveness of the new bi-mode hybrid propulsion system against diesel trains, which are currently used on many routes, can be evaluated within the framework of current plans to decarbonize rail transport.

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