This forgotten region of Spain will have the world’s first hydrogen plant

by Lorraine Williamson

Green hydrogen is gaining in importance as an alternative to sustainable mobility. The ‘forgotten’ region of Extremadura is working on the construction of the world’s first hydrogen plant for high-speed trains. This would be similar to a gas station for high-speed trains. A true technological revolution for the area.

The Extremaduraman company Golendus will be responsible for the design and construction of an infrastructure for Badajoz, Mérida or Navalmoral de la Mata. However, the decision on the location of the hydrogen plant will be made by the regional government of Extremadura. Golendus has already set up the first workshop in Europe in Lobón. This is where petrol or diesel vehicles can be converted into hydrogen vehicles. And the same technology will be used for trains.

Green, renewable hydrogen

Gema Alejandra González, CEO of Golendus: “We produce the green hydrogen and we would also distribute it for the trains that will be used for test runs of this innovative train that railway company Talgo wants to set up”.

Moreover, the company believes this will be a real technological revolution for the region. “In three years’ time, they will start producing these trains and if Renfe buys them, it could solve the train problems in Extremadura,” explains Gema Alejandra.

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Possible locations for the hydrogen plant

The train could be in operation by 2026. Then engineers, mechanics and electricians are needed. Many of them will come from Extremadura’s strategic training plan. The company and the Junta de Extremadura are looking for locations for the hydrogen plant. The most important thing is to have enough space and a sufficient base to be able to build it. Furthermore, there are three locations where the hydrogen plant could be built. One of them is at Expacio Navalmoral de la Mata and the other two are Expacio Mérida and the Badajoz Logistics Platform.

Because it involves on-site production, the project requires an area with solar panels. This is where the first energy is extracted to produce hydrogen later. The company that will build it, Golendus, believes that the location of the platform in Badajoz could be the most interesting, but does not rule out the other two.

Hympulso project

The facility is part of the Hympulso project, which brings together a dozen Spanish companies, including Talgo, Repsol and Sener. The goal is to design and build a propulsion system based on renewable hydrogen fuel cells and install it in a high-speed train for the first time in the world.

Specifically, a series of technologies will be designed that can be applied to the Talgo 250 ‘all-terrain’ train (as is the case with this ‘hydrogen generator’). This makes it possible to electrify the railway network with energy generated entirely from renewable sources. Even on lines that don’t have overhead wires.

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