The FCH2RAIL project is promoted by a consortium technically led by CAF and comprised of DLR, Renfe, Toyota Motor Europe, Adif, IP, CNH2 and Faiveley Stemmann Technik that aims to develop a train prototype powered by hydrogen with European funding under the H2020 Program.
The project will cover the design and manufacturing of a train prototype in addition to all the tests required for validation and approval. The underlying goal is to achieve a zero emissions product with competitive operating performance relative to current diesel engine powered trains, and applicable to both newly designed trains and refurbishments.
The Consortium, which includes companies from Spain, Belgium, Germany and Portugal, has started the process to wrap up a contractual agreement establishing the project scope of each consortium member. This process is scheduled for completion before the end of the year, after which the project would kick-off in January 2021.
The project will extend for approximately four years, drawing from a budget in excess of €14 million, with approximately 70% being supported by European funds.
The prototype will be based on a Renfe's 3-car commuter unit belonging to Civia series. The new power generator system based on the hybridization of hydrogen fuel cell systems and LTO batteries will combine with the vehicle existing traction system.
The prototype will thus become one of the first bimode railway demonstrators fitted with hydrogen fuel cell systems and will be able to run in electric mode on the electrified infrastructure and operate the hybrid mode for running on catenary-less sections.
Then, the track testing phase will start to optimize the hybridization solution and the bimode operation and, finally, the validation process will take place in Spain, Portugal and a third country still to be determined. Furthermore, the project will also comprise the research of various solutions for exploiting the heat generated by the hydrogen fuel cell system as a means to improve energy efficiency.