FCH2RAIL hydrogen demonstrator train begins testing between Torralba and Soria

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The FCH2RAIL project, which is developing a bi-mode demonstrator train powered by hydrogen, has begun testing on the Torralba-Soria line in Spain, thus consolidating a new milestone in a project that is committed to new environmentally friendly mobility solutions.

Testing within the General Interest Railway Network (RFIG) began in May on the section between Zaragoza and Canfranc, where the hydrogen-powered prototype train has proven its potential, reliability, and efficiency.

The project is in a crucial stage of on-track testing demonstrating the reliability of the vehicle and the new technology and marking a significant step towards creating a cleaner and more sustainable rail transport system.

The new tests are the result of the joint work of the companies collaborating in the project. Adif, as infrastructure administrator, issued a new order at the time that allows the new hydrogen technology to circulate in tests through the Spanish infrastructure.

Renfe Operadora provides the train and drivers for the tests and CAF as manufacturer carries out the transformation of the CIVIA 463 demonstrator train and leads all the tests carried out. The project also has the participation of the German Aerospace Institute (DLR), Toyota, the National Hydrogen Center (CNH2), Infrastructure of Portugal (IP) and Stemmann Technik (STT).

The main objective of the new tests on the Soria line is to evaluate the performance of the bimodal hybrid fuel cell train on the new line, expanding the range of power and energy demand conditions and simulating different commercial services.

The demonstrator train of the FCH2Rail project represents an innovative solution that combines the efficiency of fuel cells with battery storage and allows it to circulate with catenary on electrified sections, enabling more efficient use of energy and greater autonomy. Furthermore, this technology ensures a zero-emission product with competitive operating performance compared to traditional diesel propulsion systems.

The FCH2Rail project started in early 2021 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024. It has a budget of €14m, €10m of which is funded by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, formerly FCH2 JU, a European Commission agency dedicated to promoting the development of hydrogen and fuel cells.