FCH2RAIL project launches groundbreaking hydrogen train for testing on Spanish railways

FCH2RAIL project launches groundbreaking hydrogen train for testing on Spanish railways
© renfe.com

The testing phase has begun on various railway lines in Spain, including the challenging Zaragoza-Canfranc line, to assess the train's performance under different conditions.


The FCH2RAIL project, a consortium comprising CAF, DLR, Toyota, Renfe, Adif, CNH2, IP, and Stemmann-Technik, has reached a significant milestone with the authorization to conduct tests of the first hydrogen-powered train on the Spanish National Railway Network. The project aims to develop a bi-mode demonstrator train equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, marking a major step towards sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation solutions.

The first test run took place on the Zaragoza-Canfranc line in the challenging Aragonese Pyrenees region. The line's steep gradients provided an opportunity to evaluate the train's performance and the new power generation systems. Following the successful test on the Canfranc line, the project has entered a new phase of on-track testing. The train will be used on various lines throughout the Spanish railway network, including those in Aragon, Madrid and Galicia. These tests will simulate different commercial operating conditions and evaluate the train's performance under different climatic and operating conditions. The objective is to thoroughly evaluate the competitiveness of the bi-mode hybrid propulsion solution using hydrogen fuel cells as a sustainable alternative to diesel traction.

© renfe.com
© renfe.com

The FCH2RAIL consortium has integrated the new power generation system into an existing Renfe commuter train, with CAF leading the installation process. After static testing at CAF's plant in Zaragoza and initial hydrogen refueling, dynamic tests were conducted on a closed track in mid-2022 to optimize the system. With the approval of Adif, the consortium can now carry out authorized tests on the Spanish railway infrastructure, having successfully completed the risk analysis and safety validation processes.

The FCH2RAIL project, which commenced in early 2021 and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2024, has a budget of €14 million. The Clean Hydrogen Partnership, formerly FCH2 JU and a European Commission agency dedicated to promoting hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, is providing €10 million in funding for the project, emphasizing the importance of advancing sustainable transportation solutions.

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