Spanish consortium Hympulso tackles hydrogen-power for high-speed rail
Hympulso, a consortium of ten Spanish companies has joined forces to pioneer the adaptation of hydrogen propulsion in a high-speed train. The initiative is part of the Strategic Projects for Renewable Energies, Renewable Hydrogen, and Storage (PERTE) program. It aims to develop a new hydrogen and battery-powered technical car for a Talgo 250 train.
Leading the consortium is Talgo, with key partners Golendus, Ingeteam, Optimus3D, Repsol, and Sener. Collaborating entities include Universidad Pontificia Comillas and Tecnalia, while Adif serves as an observer. The project has secured a grant of 6.5 million euros and is integrated into the Renewable Hydrogen Innovation Chain Incentive Program, part of the Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan. Hympulso also aligns with the ‘Hydrogen-Powered Mobility Design, Demonstration, and Validation’ initiative within the PERTE for Renewable Energies, Renewable Hydrogen, and Storage (ERHA) program.
Hympulso encompasses the entire renewable hydrogen value chain, spanning generation to consumption within the railway system. The project will also assess the impact of the hydrogen transition on various assets of the railway infrastructure managed by Adif.
The comprehensive approach of Hympulso will result in adapted hydrogen feeding facilities for the railway, both mobile and fixed and a groundbreaking prototype of a hybrid bimodal passenger train with variable gauge capabilities. This train can operate seamlessly on both conventional and high-speed rail networks, utilising overhead catenary power where available or hydrogen and batteries on unelectrified corridors.
Playing to each partner’s strength
Tackling the considerable technological challenges posed by the adoption of renewable hydrogen in rail transportation requires the engagement of multiple stakeholders at all levels, both public and private. The ambitious project involves various aspects for each partner. Talgo aims to develop, manufacture, and test the dual-hybrid hydrogen-battery traction system on a Talgo 250 train for long-distance operations on mixed electrified and non-electrified tracks. Ingeteam will design, manufacture, and test high-power reversible converters capable of charging batteries from the catenary.
Repsol and Golendus will be responsible for developing two hydrogen refuelling installations, with Repsol deploying a mobile station and Golendus establishing a fixed production and supply facility. Sener will conduct a comprehensive risk analysis and operational simulation of hydrogen supply installations and railway infrastructure. Optimus3D will work on developing new materials and processes for hydrogen applications using additive manufacturing.
As an observing entity, Adif aims to enhance its knowledge of hydrogen technology’s requirements and use cases in railway infrastructure, ensuring safety, designing standardised refuelling installations, and collaborating on hydrogen-powered platform use cases.