Track services

CAF launches dynamic tests on the track of hydrogen trains

The tests focused on a demonstration vehicle developed for the FCH2RAIL consortium project.

CAF recently announced the start of dynamic on-track testing of its hydrogen train demonstration vehicle which was developed for the FCH2RAIL project. The project is led by a consortium made up of CAF, Toyota, DLR, ADIF, Renfe, CNH2, IP and Stemmann-Technik.

The project will use new power generation system technology integrated into an existing train model.

The demonstrator used for the tests is based on one of Renfe’s commuter trains, in which the project had installed a new electricity production system. The system used uses an energy hybrid of fuel cells and batteries. This system was integrated into the vehicle’s existing traction system. This made the locomotive one of the first dual-mode demonstration vehicles of its kind powered by fuel cells.

The zero-emission vehicle will operate in electric mode with its battery when it travels on electrified tracks. Then, when the vehicle leaves the electrified infrastructure, its hybrid mode will be used. In this way, it will be able to operate on sections of track without catenary without using fossil fuels to do so.

The idea is to allow the hydrogen train to run on H2 when it enters the track without electrification.

Once the the static tests of the vehicle have been completed, he was ready to start dynamic testing on the external track. At the start of the tests, the consortium was able to meet the deadlines initially set for this component of the project, demonstrating the consortium’s strong commitment to its project.

Throughout dynamic track testing, the hybridization of fuel cell and electric battery will optimize routes along specifically selected tracks to reflect the type of lanes that will be typical of commercial services. As a result, the new system undergoes a wide range of different types of tests with varying power demand conditions.

The result of the hydrogen train trials is expected to be a competitive dual-mode hybrid locomotive propulsion system that will provide alternatives to routes currently using diesel. The intention is to be able to offer deployable vehicles on the planned framework of the decarbonisation of rail transport.