Progress of CP’s hydrogen locomotive program


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Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

Canadian Pacific’s hydrogen fuel cell line haul freight locomotive (H20EL, pictured) began operating under its own power earlier this year.

The Calgary-based ATCO Group, through its investment in Canadian Utilities Ltd., will provide engineering, procurement and construction services for two hydrogen production and refueling facilities in Alberta under the Canadian Pacific (CP) hydrogen locomotive program.

PCThe hydrogen locomotive program started in December 2020 with the retrofit of an existing line-haul diesel-electric locomotive. The diesel engine and traction alternator have been replaced with hydrogen fuel cell and battery technology to power the unit’s electric traction motors. In November 2021, CP 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 switcher), install hydrogen production facilities at two locations and create a “global network”. Center of Excellence in Hydrogen and Rail Freight Systems” in Alberta.

The new hydrogen production and refueling facilities will be built, beginning later this year, at CP’s Calgary and Edmonton rail yards, ATCO, which is described as “a diverse global company” with investments in structures and logistics (workforce and residential housing, modular facilities; construction, site support services; labor accommodation services facilities; operation and maintenance of facilities; defense operations services; and disaster and emergency management services); Utilities (transmission and distribution of electricity and natural gas, and international electricity operations); Energy infrastructure (power generation, energy storage and industrial water solutions); Retail Energy (retail sale of electricity and natural gas); Transport (ports and transport logistics); and commercial real estate.

Each site will include a 1 MW electrolyser as well as compression, storage and distribution for the supply of locomotives. In Calgary, the electrolyser will be powered in part by renewable electricity from CP’s existing 5 MW solar power facility at its headquarters, ATCO reported. Both sites are expected to be operational in 2023.

CP Assistant Vice President Operations Technology Kyle Mulligan

“CP is pleased to bring ATCO’s hydrogen production and fueling expertise to our hydrogen locomotive program,” said Kyle Mulligan, CP’s assistant vice president, Operations Technology. “The Calgary and Edmonton service stations will be key to realizing zero-emission hydrogen locomotive propulsion as part of CP’s commitment to sustainable and responsible operations.

“We are excited to work with CP to advance hydrogen into another energy application, in this case for use as a commercial transportation fuel,” said Bob Myles, ATCO Executive Vice President, Hydrogen Development. ‘business.

In related developments, CP shared on January 24 via Twitter a video of the first fully painted H20EL (zero-emission hydrogen locomotive; see below), which the railroad said had run under its own power.

Additionally, Ballard Power Systems announced Jan. 18 that it will deliver eight additional 200-kilowatt fuel cell modules to CP this year for its hydrogen locomotive program; CP ordered the first six 200 kilowatt fuel cell modules from Ballard in March 2021.


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