In a pioneering move, ten Spanish companies have joined forces to develop the world's first high-speed train powered by renewable hydrogen fuel cells. Christened "Hympulso", the project hopes to revolutionise sustainable rail travel by electrifying even non-electrified lines.
Spearheaded by train manufacturer Talgo, the consortium brings together a diverse range of expertise. Key players include Golendus, Ingeteam, Optimus3D, Repsol, and Sener, with additional support from universities and government agencies. The collaborative effort is backed by a €6.5 million grant.
The consortium called Hympulso will take a holistic approach, encompassing the entire hydrogen value chain – from production to consumption within the railway system. The team behind the project say that they will not only deliver an innovative hydrogen supply infrastructure, but also unveil a groundbreaking prototype train.
At the heart of this innovation lies the modified Talgo 250 train. Hympulso will replace one of its diesel-powered cars with a revolutionary unit equipped with hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. The trains will have two technical end cars each (CET), which are currently used to generate electricity from diesel. They will then allow the traction units to work on sections without catenary. This will mean that the hybrid will draw its energy from 100% green, renewable hydrogen, enabling the train to seamlessly switch between electrified and non-electrified sections.
As part of the consortium, Ingeteam will develop cutting-edge converters for efficient battery charging, while Repsol and Golendus will establish hydrogen refuelling facilities – one mobile and one static and Sener will provide risk analysis and operational simulations.
It is hoped that Hympulso will help with Spain's strategic plan for economic recovery and transformation (PERTE). This initiative is designed to foster technological advancement - from renewable energy and manufacturing to transport and logistics.