Project News

FCH2RAIL on International Railway Symposium Aachen - IRSA2023


DLR presents preliminary findings from the FCH2Rail project focusing the dimensioning process of fuel cell-battery hybrid powertrain concepts for railway vehicles. Marcel Scharmach presents the results of investigations into various simulation tools for rail vehicles, with a specific focus on the comparative analysis of simulation tools applied in the FCH2Rail and the VirtualFCS project. As part of the European Union project FCH2RAIL, Scharmach conducts a comprehensive comparison of simulation methods, examining the various approaches of the dimensioning processes of fuel cells and batteries. The full paper, titled "Comparison of simulative methods for dimensioning of fuel cell-battery hybrid powertrains in FCH2RAIL and Virtual-FCS," is available in the conference proceedings.

Markus Kordel's presentation explores two technologies designed to decrease energy consumption in the air conditioning of hydrogen fuel cell rolling stock by utilizing waste energy. The Hydrogen-Powered Air-Conditioning (HyPAC) system makes use of the pressure energy between the hydrogen tank and fuel cell system, while the absorption refrigerator utilizes waste heat generated by the fuel cell. An feasibility analysis of of these technologies takes considers multiple factors, such as hydrogen mass flow, waste heat flow and temperature constraints. The presentation also introduces suggested design concepts for both technologies. The complete paper, titled "Waste Energy AC Technologies in H2 Multiple Units," is available in the conference proceedings.


The FCH2RAIL hydrogen demonstrator train achives a new authorization and continues testing between Torralba and Soria line 


The FCH2RAIL project has begun tests on the Torralba-Soria line on Friday, 10.11.2023, marking a new milestone in a project that is committed to new environmentally friendly mobility solutions. The main objective of the new tests in the Soria line is to evaluate the performances of the bi-mode Fuel Cell Hybrid train in the new line, increasing the range of power and energy demand conditions and simulating different commercial services. The demonstrator train of the FCH2Rail project represents an innovative solution that combines the efficiency of fuel cells with battery storage and allows running with catenary on electrified sections, allowing for more efficient use of energy and greater autonomy. Moreover, this technology promises a zero emissions product with competitive operating performances compared to traditional diesel propulsion systems.

Read more on the Adif website (in Spanish).

Video of the hydrogen train tests in the Pyrenees: The journey begins!


Today FCH2RAIL Partner CAF released a video showing the bimode fuel cell demonstrator train during testing on public tracks in the Pyrenees and in Canfranc station. Watch the video here:

FCH2RAIL project: First hydrogen train on the Spanish railway network


Credit: CAF (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

The FCH2Rail project, in which a bi-mode demonstrator train with hydrogen fuel cells is being developed, has achieved an important milestone by obtaining authorisation to run in tests on the Spanish National Railway Network, and having completed the first of the routes planned with the arrival of the unit at Canfranc station, in the Aragonese Pyrenees. The demonstrator train is the first hydrogen train to achieve this milestone. This is an outstanding highlight, because the Canfranc line is a particularly demanding line due to its steep and high gradients, which involve a great challenge for the new power generation systems. To this end, the demonstrator train, a Renfe’s Civia commuter unit, has run on the Zaragoza-Canfranc line both in electric mode, in the electrified area, and in hybrid mode, combining energy from hydrogen fuel cells and batteries in the non-electrified sections. 

Read more on the CAF website, Adif website and Toyota Europe website.  

FCH2RAIL partners visit hydrogen refuelling station supplier


Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

In the framework of the FCH2RAIL project, the beneficiaries RENFE, ADIF, CAF, CNH2 and DLR made a visit to the CALVERA company on March 14, 2023. CALVERA is currently carrying out the assembly and commissioning of the hydrogen refueling system prototype (HRS prototype) developed by CNH2 for the project. During the visit, the progress could be seen and a project meeting was held to discuss the latest details of the HRS prototype.

The FCH2RAIL project develops a bi-mode hydrogen-powered train, which uses overhead catenary, hydrogen fuel cells and batteries as energy sources. The prototype hydrogen refueling system will be used during demonstration and certification runs to refuel the prototype train developed by CAF, based on a CIVIA electric multiple unit provided by RENFE.

FCH2RAIL on InnoTrans: Testing the FCHPP and Train Integration


The FCH2RAIL Partners have unveiled the latest achievements related to the testing of the FCHPP in Puertollano and to the preparation of the demonstrator train in Zaragoza.
Watch the following video to see how the FCHPP has been assembled, commissioned and optimized on the stationary test bench:

The next video shows the integration of the FCHPP into the CIVIA’s existing traction system. As a result, this train becomes one of the first bi-mode demonstrator trains with hydrogen fuel cells:

Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Visit us on InnoTrans 2022


For more than 18 exciting months the FCH2RAIL partners have been working intensively on the development of the Fuel Cell Hybrid PowerPack for Rail Applications.  Now the FCH2RAIL consortium shares recent highlights related to testing of the innovative power pack and the demonstrator train on InnoTrans 2022:

FCH2RAIL insights:
Demonstration of the Fuel Cell Hybrid PowerPack

The free of charge live presentation can be visited on 22 September from 13:30 - 14:30 in Hall 7.2a on the InnoTrans exhibition grounds in Berlin .

You are not at InnoTrans and cannot attend on site? No problem, our event will also be available online as a video stream via the InnoTrans website

Credit: CAF (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

CAF starts dynamic testing of hydrogen Civia


This week, CAF has started dynamic track testing of the hydrogen-powered demonstrator train being developed for the FCH2RAIL project. During the dynamic tests, the hybridization of the fuel cells and the batteries is optimized on representative routes for commercial services. This also means that the new systems will be fully tested under a wide range of different power demand conditions.

Read more on the CAF website.

ViaLibre reports on start of testing of CIVIA hydrogen demonstrator train


The Spanish Railway Magazine ViaLibre reports on the recently started static tests of the FCH2RAIL hydrogen-powered demonstrator train. The bi-mode Civia train unit will be able to run with energy from the catenary on electrified sections and in hybrid mode (fuel cells and batteries) on sections without catenary. The tests are performed in CAF’s Zaragoza plant.

Read more on the ViaLibre website.

Credit: CAF (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Start of tests on Hydrogen-powered Train Demonstrator at CAF's Plant in Zaragoza


CAF started static tests on the hydrogen-powered demonstrator train being developed for the FCH2Rail project at its plant in Zaragoza. This demonstrator train is based on one of RENFE's ‘Civia’ commuter trains, in which a new power generation system has been installed. This system utilises  energy from hydrogen fuel cells and batteries on non-electrified sections, and a pantrograph, when catenary is available. It has been integrated into the vehicle's existing traction system. This Civia train will be one of the first bi-mode demonstrators with this kind of bi-mode traction system.

Read more on the CAF website.

European Hydrogen Energy Conference EHEC2022


European Hydrogen Energy Conference EHEC2022 took place this year in Madrid from May 18-20.
DLR was presenting partial results from the FCH2Rail project about hydrogen storage and novel HVAC concepts for railway vehicles.
Mathias Böhm discusses in his presentation hydrogen on-board storage options for rail vehicles, with a focus on the comparison for current implementation projects in hydrogen powered trains. Within the framework of the EU project FCH2RAIL, data on pressurized hydrogen storage systems and other physical storage forms analyzed in terms of technical data. See full paper: +++ H2 On-Board Storage Options for Rail Vehicles +++
electronic library - Hydrogen On-Board Storage Options for Rail Vehicles (
The presentation of Markus Kordel  discusses two technologies to reduce energy demand for Air-Conditioning in hydrogen fuel cell rolling stock by using waste energy. The hydrogen powered air-conditioning (HyPAC) utilizes the pressure work between tank and fuel cell and the absorption refrigerator uses the waste heat from the fuel cell. To analyse the feasability, the hydrogen mass flow, the waste heat flow and temperature constraints were analysed and design concepts for both were proposed. See full paper: +++ Using Absorption Refrigerator and Metal Hydrides in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trains +++

Credit: CNH2 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

CAF Power & Automation has finished energy storage systems' type tests for the FCH2RAIL project


The FCH2RAIL Project was selected by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) of the European Commission which is engaged in driving the development of the hydrogen powered fuel cells and it is supported by European funds through the H2020 program. This aims to develop a bi-mode demonstrator train that will be powered from the overhead line when running in electrified sections, and from the Fuel Cell Hybrid Power Pack when running in the catenary-free sections. Within the scope of this project, CAF Power&Automation has developed and manufactured its own batteries module, which will be part of the Fuel Cell Hybrid Power Pack that will be installed in the demonstrator train, a CIVIA electric commuter train provided by Renfe and being now refurbished by CAF. This Onboard Energy Storage System has been successfully tested in CAF P&A´s power lab. During the testing period, performances and capacities of the system have been tested whether it can operate both as power generator in catenary-free running andas power storage in electrified sections.

Credit: Toyota Motor Europe (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Toyota delivers 6 fuel cell modules for FCH2Rail project


The FCH2RAIL project, already launched in January 2021, is pioneering in the field of emission-free bi-mode trains, which combine normal track use and emission-free rail travel without overhead lines.  Toyota has built, tested and delivered 6 fuel cell modules for the next phase in the project. These modules include the latest Gen2 technology offering more power and higher density in a more compact package. It was decided to use the flat module configuration, allowing the most efficient integration in the demonstration train’s roof.

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CIVIA commuter train used as demonstrator handed over


In WP5 Demonstrator Integration, Testing and Homologation, the milestone Train Demonstrator Arrival in CAF, which was originally planned for end of January 2022, could already be achieved in November 2021. The picture shows the CIVIA train unit that will be used to demonstrate and homologate the FCHPP. The photo was taken after hand-over of the train from RENFE to CAF in the CAF factory in Zaragoza (Spain). The hand-over was accompanied by several tasks such as dynamic and static testing of the CIVIA unit.

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Credit: Renfe (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

FCH2RAIL project achieves important steps on the way to bi-mode fuel cell hybrid train


Since the launch of the FCH2RAIL project in January 2021, important steps have been taken towards the bi-mode fuel cell hybrid train demonstrator.

In WP1 - Generic FC Train Requirement Specifications and Concept the relevant use cases for hybrid bi-mode vehicles have been analysed. As a result, the high-level requirements for the hydrogen train and its operation, covering the vehicle and the infrastructure, have been defined. Moreover, the hydrogen refuelling and storage requirements for rail vehicles have been gathered. The results have been published in the public deliverables D1.3 Report on generic requirements for bi-mode fuel cell hybrid trains and D1.5 – Hydrogen refuelling and storage requirements for rail vehicles. Both deliverables are public and available here.

WP2 - FC powered Train Demonstrator, Architecture and Concept focuses on the integration of the Fuel Cell Hybrid Powerpack (FCHPP) in the demonstrator train. It started with the generic requirements developed in WP1 and adapted them to the CIVIA train that is used as a demonstrator in the project. The demonstrator use cases and performance requirements have been identified and the feasibility of the FCHPP integration in the train demonstrator has been evaluated. The results of these tasks have been documented in the deliverable D2.1 - Requirements Specification for a Bi-mode FCH Multiple Unit.

In parallel, WP 3 – FC Hybrid Powerpack Development is advancing in the definition of the modular and scalable FCHPP. The project team started to carry out the technological development of the different critical subsystems of the FCHPP. Until today, WP3 has developed a scalable and modular architecture for the FCHPP and defined the interaction and interfaces between the main subsystems (fuel cells, hydrogen storage, energy storage and high voltage DC/DC converters) together with the main functions. Deliverable D3.1 - FCHPP architecture, interfaces and functions has been finalised and submitted to the EU Funding and Tenders Portal at end of June.

The aim of WP7 - Normative Framework is to develop the fundamental basis of a normative framework for the use of hydrogen technology in different kinds of railway applications across Europe. In order to generate the necessary momentum in the railway community, the so called WP7 network with external standardisation experts has been formed. In WP7 the important milestone MS7.1 – Critical interfaces with stakeholders has been achieved at end of September. This milestone depicts the critical interfaces between the hybrid fuel cell train and the stakeholders involved from construction to operation. It is shared with the experts in WP7 network and with the members of FCH2RAIL Advisory Board.

Last but not least the safety management for the project, located in WP9 – Project Management, created the deliverable D9.3 Safety Plan Draft by end of April. It describes the safety management for the complete FCH2Rail project and establishes the safety processes. These safety processes will assure that the train and hydrogen refuelling station developed in the project comply with the requirements defined in the European safety management framework. The safety plan was shared with the European Hydrogen Safety Panel (EHSP) and will be continuously updated during the project lifetime.

Toyota Motor Europe to supply fuel cell modules for train project as member of FCH2RAIL Consortium


Almost half of the railway lines in the European Union are electrified and enable local emission-free rail transport. On the remaining sections of the lines, diesel powered trains are used. Within the EU project FCH2RAIL (Fuel Cell Hybrid Power Pack for Rail Applications), a consortium with partners from Belgium, Germany, Spain and Portugal is developing and testing a new zero-emission train prototype. At the heart of the project there is a hybrid, bi-modal drive system that combines the electrical power supply from the overhead line with a “fuel cell hybrid power pack” (consisting of hydrogen fuel cells and batteries) that works independent of the overhead line.

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Hydrogen train prototype project secures EU funding


The European Commission’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) awarded a EUR 10 million grant to the FCH2RAIL consortium, technically led by CAF to design, develop and test a hydrogen fuel train prototype. The project would benefit European funding under the H2020 Programme. The project phases will cover both the design and manufacturing of an innovative prototype, in addition to all the tests required for validation and approval.

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