Under the timetable, presented during a hydrogen technology conference organised by Spain’s Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (Miteco), Talgo will carry out validation tests of a hydrogen-powered propulsion unit in early 2021, before installation on a new train during the project’s second manufacturing phase between 2021 and 2023.

Talgo unveiled the propulsion system on September 16 at the First Hydrogen Conference for the Socioeconomic Development of the Iberian Southwest (SOI H2) in Don Benito, Badajoz.

The system employs hydrogen fuel cells to power the train’s traction motors, supported by auxiliary batteries designed to boost acceleration, which recharged through regenerative braking.

Talgo says that in addition to being equipped in future generations of Vittal trains, the modular system is designed to be easily fitted to a range of other rail vehicles, including the conversion of diesel vehicles to hydrogen.

Talgo adds that the propulsion system will serve as an efficient and environmentally-friendly alternative on lines where full electrification is too expensive or disruptive.

“Green hydrogen is no longer the future, it is a reality,” says Talgo CEO, Mr José María Oriol. “The start-up of hydrogen trains such as the one Talgo is developing will improve mobility in our country hand-in-hand with the environment, as it will make it possible to take advantage of the non-electrified Spanish lines, while reducing the carbon footprint.”