The European rail system is going green, transitioning to electrification and alternate fuel sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and, consequently, emissions. Currently, only Switzerland is 100 % electrified, and the rest of the countries have varying amounts of electrification. FCH2RAIL will develop a fuel cell hybrid powerpack to meet intermediate needs. It will enable trains to pull electricity from overhead electric wires in regions where electrification exists and switch to the hydrogen fuel cell hybrid system on non-electrified sections of the track. Further, it will be equally applicable to retrofit existing electric or diesel trains to get them all on board.
The main objective of the FCH2RAIL project is to develop, build, test, demonstrate and homologate a scalable, modular and multi-purpose Fuel Cell Hybrid PowerPack (FCHPP) applicable for different rail applications (multiple unit, mainline and shunting locomotives) also suitable to for retrofit existing electric and diesel trains, to reach TRL7.
The project will start with a multi-country, multi railway-use-case analysis in order to derive requirements for the design, implementation and test of the FCHPP.
Based on that the FCHPP will be designed and demonstrated in a retrofitted Bi-mode multiple unit that draws electricity from the catenary while operating on electrified sections and uses the FCH system as power source on non-electrified sections supported by an innovative train wide energy management system to minimise the energy and power consumption. In order to improve the energy efficiency of FCH traction systems, innovative on-board solutions are identified and benchmarked.
The train demonstrator tests will be carried out cross-border in Portugal and Spain and homologation will be seeked for three EU countries.
A systematic screening of H2 and rail related EU-wide normative and standard frameworks concerning gaps related to an EU-wide implementation of FCH Bi-mode trains will be carried out. These activities, closely interconnected to the design, testing and homologation of the FCHPP demonstrator train activities, will result in the proposition of changes to and active involvement in standardization and norming workgroups.
An important aim of the FCH2RAIL project is to demonstrate the competitiveness of FCH against diesel trains. Therefore, project related KPI are collected and implemented to a LCC model which is applied to different rail sectors deriving cost reduction potentials.
Dissemination will comprise the demonstration of the FCHPP and the train demonstrator complemented by intensive communication and publication activities.