Alstom has demanded this Thursday “political will” to the government to promote the use of hydrogen in the railway sector. The company, which after the merger with Bombardier has 3,000 employees in Spain, has defended that this new energy vector would allow the revitalization of lines in sparsely populated rural areas, which will hardly be electrified in the future.
The French multinational assures that it is the “The only player in the sector that has the ‘know-how’ to implement hydrogen in the Spanish railway system”. Although there are several manufacturers that are already working on hydrogen traction systems, Alstom is the only one that already has a train of this type in commercial service – the Coradia iLint, which circulates in Germany – as well as another 50 orders in the portfolio. The company assures that it would be in a position to put this model into operation in Spain within 24 to 30 months.
The president and CEO of the multinational in Spain, Leopoldo Maestu, has defended this Thursday in front of a group of media that the arrival of European funds represents an opportunity to promote this energy vector. The Government foresees investments to promote hydrogen valued at 1,500 million euros.
«There is going to be a niche of trains of
hydrogen. It is not competitive in prices, but neither was solar energy in principle. In ten years it will have a large volume of business ”, explained Maestu, who has applauded Renfe’s decision to re-tender a contract of 1,300 million to acquire trains that use clean energy instead of diesel to circulate on non-electrified tracks.
Maestu considers that this type of measure, together with the rail liberalization and the renewal of Renfe’s rolling stock, will allow Alstom to increase its activity in Spain, where so far it has destined between 80 and 90% of its production for export. .
New center in Getafe
The company plans to double the production capacity of its factory in Santa Perpetua (Barcelona), which will be in charge of the mega-contract awarded to the company by Renfe at the beginning of the year for the construction of 211 high-capacity commuter trains. In addition, the company began a plan in 2019 by which it plans to invest 150 million in Spain between that year and 2024.
Part of these investments They will be absorbed by a new industrial center to be established in Getafe (Madrid). As Maestu explained this Thursday, it will be dedicated to the maintenance and assembly of the train bogies, which will have a workforce of around 50 people and an initial investment of up to six million euros.
In addition, the manager has indicated that the liberalization of the AVE is going to be “an important change in the sector in which we are going to participate.”
Alstom already has a center specialized in the maintenance of Ouigo trains, which will start competing with Renfe next week. And it is also in talks with other operators. «The concept of national operators is going to disappear. We are going to work with each one to the extent that they want to work, ”Maestu stressed.