CP orders fuel cells for its hydrogen locomotive pilot

hydrogen locomotive programmeUnder an agreement, Ballard Power Systems will supply the fuel cells for Canadian Pacific’s hydrogen locomotive programme.

The fuel cell modules will provide a total of 1.2 megawatts of electricity to power the locomotive. Ballard plans to deliver six of its 200-kilowatt fuel cell modules to Canadian Pacific in 2021 as well as to provide support to enable integration of the modules into the locomotive.

“With this purchase from Ballard, a leader in the hydrogen fuel cell industry, CP further demonstrates its commitment to developing the next generation of locomotive, one that produces zero emissions,” the  President of CP Keith Creel said.

The new technology will eliminate the emissions generated by the diesel freight trains and it “represents the most efficient method of moving goods over land.”

Through its hydrogen locomotive programme, Canadian Pacific will develop North America’s first hydrogen – powered line – haul freight locomotive by retrofitting a formerly diesel – powered locomotive with Ballard hydrogen fuel cells. The fuel cells will work with battery technology to power the locomotive’s electric traction motors.

Once operational, the operator will conduct rail service trials and qualification testing to evaluate the technology’s readiness for the rail freight sector.

Ballard Power Systems is already working on powering commuter trains in Europe and urban trams in China, and the CP’s programme “underscores the strong fit for zero-emission fuel cells to power heavy and medium – duty motive applications, including trains, for which it is otherwise difficult to abate emissions,” Randy MacEwen, Ballard President said.

In December 2020, Canadian Pacific announced its plan to develop America’s first hydrogen locomotive to transform the diesel fleet which will contribute to the decarbonisation of the transport sector.

The company has a Climate Change Commitment under which intends to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to develop and promote the sustainable rail transport.

In North America, the transport sector is a major source of GHG emssions announting for 28 percent of the total emissions (in 2018).

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