"Among Talgo’s lines of research is the proactive exploration of new storage technologies"

30 May 2024

As part of our ongoing commitment to highlight the innovative endeavors within the MUSIC Project, we are excited to present an exclusive interview with Juan Dayron Lopez Cardona, a leading figure from Talgo. Talgo, a prestigious Spanish company, specializes in the design, manufacturing, and servicing of trains and railway equipment globally. Their participation in the MUSIC Project underscores their pivotal role in advancing supercapacitor technology for the rail industry. In this interview, Juan sheds light on how Talgo is integrating cutting-edge storage solutions to meet the demands of modern train systems and enhance their operational efficiency.

  • Why do you think SICs are interesting for your trains? 

Patentes Talgo as a company, has always been committed to the development of innovative, disruptive and sustainable projects. In this sense, sodium-based capacitors (SIC) promise to be a storage technology that combines the benefits of high-power capacitors and high-energy batteries at a cost potentially lower than that of Li analogues. Additionally, it does not use high demand raw materials such as Co, Ni, Li, and Cu making it a viable and interesting alternative solution. Talgo is currently involved in developing a new generation of electric trains with hydrogen propulsion that combines high capacity Lithium Ion batteries with fuel cells (FC). This allows both the propulsion of the rolling stock and energy recovery during regenerative braking. However, abrupt transients may occur that the battery cannot absorb and/or limit its performance depending on the route. Hybrid storage solutions cover the limitations of traditional technologies. In this context, Talgo proposes to study the behavior of the DC bus w/o SIC, in order to evaluate the impact of discharge/discharge currents on the traction battery. A decrease in the amplitude and repeatability of the transients in the main battery is expected, thus extending its lifetime and consequently decreasing the costs of the solution. 

  •  Which special characteristics does a power device require to be implemented in your trains? 

Generally, every onboard device must comply with a set of characteristics regulated through industry-specific standards, covering functional and safety aspects regarding Electromagnetic compatibility, Fire protection, Shock and vibration, Insulation, and mechanical characteristics. These specifications include EN 50121, EN 45545, EN 61373, etc. On the other hand, a set of common parameters for all storage devices can also be listed, depending on the application and the characteristics of the target rolling stock, such as energy and power density, efficiency, low self-discharge, storage duration, service life, capital cost, and environmental impacts. In the specific case of Talgo trains, which are characterized by their lightness and speed, it is critical to evaluate the power density and efficiency of the device without neglecting the performance of the rest of the parameters. Currently, Talgo is exploring the use of traction batteries onboard based on lithium-ion with a gravimetric energy density of ∼53Wh/kg (including fireproof and anti-vibration steel walls). This value is low for the technology; for this reason, among the company´s lines of research is the proactive exploration of new storage technologies in order to implement hybrid solutions or replace that we already have.  


Juan Dayron Lopez Cardona´s insights provide a fascinating glimpse into the future of rail technology and the critical role Talgo plays within the MUSIC Project. Their approach not only highlights the potential of new storage technologies like SICs but also emphasizes the importance of sustainable and efficient solutions in the transportation sector. As we continue our journey with the MUSIC Project, Talgo´s innovations and proactive research endeavors serve as a beacon of progress, driving the entire industry toward a more sustainable and efficient future.

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