CALGARY — Canadian Pacific announced Friday that it would install hydrogen fuel cells and battery technology on a locomotive as part of a new pilot program to develop North America’s first hydrogen-powered engine for main line freight service. Once the locomotive is ready for service, CP will test it to evaluate the technology’s readiness for the freight-rail sector.
“This is a globally significant project that positions CP at the leading edge of decarbonizing the freight transportation sector,” said Keith Creel, CP’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “CP will continue to focus on finding innovative solutions to transform our operations and adapt our business, positioning CP and our industry as leaders for a sustainable future.”
In 2009, BNSF Railway developed a hydrogen-powered switcher, but the technology has remained in its infancy within the rail sector. CP is not alone in its pursuit of finding alternative power sources for its locomotives, however, as the public and shareholders push for lower-emission alternatives. Earlier this year, Pacific Harbor Line agreed to try a brand new, battery-powered locomotive from Caterpillar’s Progress Rail. The six-axle locomotive will demonstrate the latest lithium-ion battery technology and battery management system, alongside AC traction and state-of-the-art electronics. The zero-emission locomotive, dubbed “Joule,” will be capable of 3,200 horsepower and will be rigorously tested in all types of service at PHL, officials said.