CAF has signed a framework agreement with Spanish utility company Iberdrola with the aim of developing and promoting green hydrogen to create emission-free rail passenger services.

As part of the agreement, Iberdrola will supply green hydrogen from its new plant in Barcelona, which began operating this month, for a Renfe class 463 Civia three-car train converted for hydrogen power, testing of which is due to commence in April.

The train has been developed by CAF at its Zaragoza plant as part of the FCH2Rail project, a Europe-wide three-year trial which aims to develop, build, test, demonstrate and commission a fuel cell hybrid power pack applicable for different rail applications.

The train will be fitted with a new electric generator based on the hybridisation of hydrogen cells and batteries. These will operate with the vehicle’s existing traction systems.

Another aim of the agreement is to improve the renewable hydrogen supply chain with the highest safety, technology and competition standards in fields such as the rail sector and passenger transport.

In November, Alstom divested its Coradia Polyvalent platform to CAF as a condition set by the European Commission for the approval of its acquisition of Bombardier Transportation. Under the deal, CAF will assume responsibility for the contract to supply 14 Coradia Polyvalent hydrogen-electric dual-mode multiple units to French National Railways (SNCF). However, Alstom is supplying the hydrogen traction system for the trains rather than CAF.

An in-depth feature asking if hydrogen is the answer for the rail industry was published in the October edition of IRJ, and digital subscribers can read it here.