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CAF Started Static Testing Of A Civia EHMU Demonstrator


posted on 1st Jun 2022 12:28


At the end of May, at its plant in Zaragoza, CAF started static tests on the hydrogen-powered demonstrator train being developed for the FCH2Rail project. FCH2RAIL is a consortium of CAF, DLR, Toyota, Renfe, Adif, CNH2, IP and FAIVELEY Stemmann Technik.

This demonstrator EHMU (Electric-Hydrogen Multiple Unit) is based on Renfe's 463.199 Civia EMU, in which a new power generation system has been installed. The latter utilises a hybridisation of energy from hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, and has been integrated into the vehicle's existing traction equipment. As a result, this Civia will become one of the first bi-mode demonstratos with hydrogen fuel cells. In other words, a zero-emissions vehicle concept that will be able to run in electric mode on the electrified lines, while the hybrid mode will be used for operating on non-electrified sections.

The capacity of the H2 tanks in the prototype is 160 kg, but it is a demonstrator, not a commercial vehicle. The expected operational range for one H2 filling is defined by Renfe for a commercial vehicle of no less than 800 km. However, the real range depends in any case on the type of service and the concrete line.

To date, all the equipment making up the new Fuel Cell Hybrid Powerpack has been tested, and CAF has carried out the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic work to install it on the original Civia EMU. The next stage is to conduct tests to validate the integration of this new system. One of the first tests will be the correct installation and integration of the new Fuel Cell Hybrid Powerpack, by checking all the interfaces and their correct operation together with the equipment already installed on the vehicle.

A milestone will also have been reached following the completion of the tightness tests on the hydrogen system, when the first hydrogen refuelling can take place and hydrogen is supplied to the fuel cells. Once this has been completed, all the energy required by the train can then be obtained through this new hybrid system. CAF states that 100 % of the hydrogen consumed during these tests is renewably-sourced, this is termed green hydrogen and is to be supplied by Iberdrola.

The start of these tests at the CAF plant confirms the considerable effort made by the consortium since the launch of the FCH2RAIL project in early 2021. Once this stage of the testing has been completed at Zaragoza, the EHMU will be ready to start the dynamic tests on external lines, which are planned for this summer.

The project has a 14 million EUR budget, 10 million of which is being funded by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, formerly FCH2 JU, a European Commission agency dedicated to promoting the development of hydrogen and fuel cells. 

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