Spanish train builder announces H2 propulsion system for locomotives

Spanish train builder announces H2 propulsion system for locomotives

Talgo has presented in Badajoz its hydrogen-based propulsion system for rail vehicles, a green, innovative and efficient alternative to replace diesel locomotives. The project was presented within the framework of the first Hydrogen Conference as a vector of socioeconomic development in the Iberian Southwest (SOI H2). It will be the first prototype in Spain.

This system is configured as a modular solution that allows it to be installed on all types of trains, but it was specifically designed for Vittal, a short and medium distance platform, with which Talgo participates in various bidding processes in Spain and other countries. The first validation tests on track will be carried out on lines in Extremadura in the fourth quarter of 2021.

This innovative system uses hydrogen batteries that provide energy to the train’s electric motors. It is powered by renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaic or wind, which produce hydrogen that is stored and later used to power advanced propulsion systems based on fuel cells, such as the one designed by Talgo. The system is complemented by batteries that increase the acceleration available at starts, taking advantage of the train braking to recharge.

Unlike extended battery systems in the automotive industry, hydrogen technology is presented as the logical answer to the needs of heavy transport and, in particular, of those railway lines that do not have electrification systems through catenary and that currently depend on trains powered by diesel engines. The hydrogen system designed by Talgo thus makes it possible to ‘electrify’ the lines of the conventional network without the need for costly and lengthy adaptation works, and without fossil fuels.

The high-speed train manufacturer chose Extremadura as part of a broader strategy that recognizes the efforts of the Community’s Civil and Business Society and regional Public Administrations to innovate and accelerate a transition to completely decarbonized transport networks. This choice has to do not only with the type of existing infrastructure but also with the fact that it is one of the Autonomous Communities that has shown a more determined commitment to the generation and regeneration of industrial chains based on local hydrogen production.

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