Renfe, in collaboration with Gas Natural Fenosa and Enagás, is preparing for this first half of December what will be the first pilot test of railway traction with liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Europe, and the first in the world for passenger rail transport.
This innovation project will assess the feasibility of adapting railway vehicles to run with LNG engines and tanks and the relevant technical, legal, economic and environmental analysis for the Spanish and European rail network.
The project falls within the 2014-2020 Strategy for the promotion of Alternative Fuel Vehicles in Spain, in line with the purpose and scope of Directive 2014/94/EU on the deployment of an infrastructure for alternative fuels in Europe. In addition, it is also part of Renfe’s rolling stock renewal plan, which includes the introduction of trains propelled by alternative fuels.
The pilot test will be performed with a LNG engine on a self-propelled train from Feve’s diesel fleet along a 20 km section. For this purpose, the diesel engine on one of the two locomotive units will be replaced with one powered by natural gas, and tanks for storing LNG will be fitted, alongside other necessary auxiliary equipment.
The test will allow the results obtained for both diesel and gas technology to be compared, given that a locomotive running on each type of fuel will be used on the same train. This track test will be used to draw conclusions on technical requirements for space, weight, refrigeration and autonomy for natural gas traction, as well as other considerations and comparative variables in emissions and operating economy.