Ballard to power CP’s expanded hydrogen locomotive program

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Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

Last fall, CP released a rendering of its prototype hydrogen fuel cell line haul locomotive, the H20EL.

Ballard Power Systems will deliver eight additional 200-kilowatt fuel cell modules to Canadian Pacific (CP) this year for its recently expanded hydrogen locomotive program, the supplier announced Jan. 19.

PC ordered six 200 kilowatt fuel cell modules from ballard in March 2021 as part of its initial program, which would retrofit an existing diesel-electric line haul locomotive with hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) and battery technology to power electric traction motors. In November 2021, the Class I railroad received a $15 million 50% matching grant from Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) to expand the initiative to three locomotives (now two line haul units and a switch), installing hydrogen production facilities at two locations and creating a “global center of excellence in hydrogen and freight rail systems” in Alberta. It was building on the $15 million CP had already planned to invest in the program in 2021.

CP said at the time that it intended to “refine the process of converting diesel-electric powertrains to hydrogen-electric powertrains on a series of three classes of locomotives, which collectively represent the majority of locomotives used in North America”.

“We are excited to deepen our collaboration with CP and accelerate the energy transition,” said Ballard President and CEO Randy MacEwen. “The expansion of CP’s hydrogen locomotive program illustrates the confidence in Ballard’s fuel cell technology and the important role that hydrogen fuel cells will play in decarbonizing heavy duty motor applications, such as freight locomotives. .

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