First Look: CP’s Zero Hydrogen Emission Locomotive



Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

On October 4, CP shared on Twitter: “Here is CP’s new prototype hydrogen line haulage locomotive: # H20EL or Zero Emission Hydrogen Locomotive. Each design element reflects CP’s commitment to sustainability and transformative technology.

The Canadian Pacific (CP) H20EL, a prototype hydrogen fuel cell line transport locomotive, will be prepped this fall for official painting and launching, the Class I railroad reported.

CP in an Oct. 4 Twitter post provided a video rendering of the H20EL, which stands for Hydrogen Zero Emissions Locomotive (see below). It has also included details about the units in the “Sustainability Driven” section of its website.

The colors of the blue and green paint scheme represent “sustainability, water and technology,” according to the railroad, and H2OEL’s angled typography symbolizes “movement and progress in action”.

In December 2020, CP’s hydrogen locomotive program announced work on the H2OEL, a modernization of an existing diesel-electric locomotive. The diesel engine and traction alternator are replaced by hydrogen fuel cell and battery technology to power the unit’s electric traction motors. Ballard is providing six 200 kilowatt fuel cell modules, which will provide a total of 1.2 megawatts of electricity to power the locomotive.

On March 10, 2021, CP President and CEO Keith Creel told attendees Age of the railwayNext-Gen Freight Rail conference that the locomotive for the program is expected to be operational by the end of 2022. At that time, the railway said it would “conduct rail service trials and qualification to assess the readiness of technology for cargo. railway sector.

Keith Creel, CP President and CEO and Railway Age 2021 Railroader of the Year.

If the concept proves reliable, CP could produce two more locomotives, according to Creel. Although the Class I railway is not seeking to become a locomotive builder, he said Age of the railway conference attendees, his vision is to partner with an OEM in the future to “benefit CP and North America [railroad] countryside.”

On CP’s website, Creel noted that the project is “of global significance” and “positions CP at the forefront of decarbonizing the freight transportation industry.” CP will continue to focus on finding innovative solutions to transform our operations and execute our climate strategy, positioning CP and our industry as leaders for a sustainable future.

Here is more Age of the railway articles on alternative technology locomotives:

Caterpillar, Chevron team on hydrogen energy

PHL will test Progress Rail EMD® Joule

Southern Railway of BC Goes Green with Switch Modernization

Wabtec, GM team on new locomotive power systems

Sera will build a hydrogen switch

BNSF / Wabtec BEL pilot: the results are known and the BNSF / Wabtec BEL pilot in progress

Zero-emission locomotives on American railroads?

Fuel cells and batteries: the future of mobility?

The “H” factor

CP embarks on a hydrogen locomotive driver (with more info here: Railway of the Year 2021: Keith Creel, Canadian Pacific and here: CP Hydrogen Locomotive Driver powered by Ballard)

Hydrogen Strategy for Canada’s Railways

OptiFuel producing natural gas switches

Cummins QSK95 for Freight



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