CP using Ballard fuel cells in hydrogen train program

By Jack Burke10 March 2021

Goal is to produce hydrogen-powered line-haul freight locomotives

Canadian Pacific (CP) will employ Ballard Power Systems’ fuel cell modules for its Hydrogen Locomotive Program.

The modules will provide a total of 1.2 MW of electricity to power 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,” said CP President and CEO Keith Creel. “How we power our trains matters to our customers, employees, shareholders and to the communities we operate in. This technology holds the possibility of eliminating emissions from freight train operations, which already represent the most efficient method of moving goods over land.”

Canadian Pacific (CP) will employ Ballard Power Systems’ fuel cell modules for its Hydrogen Locomotive Program.

Through its Hydrogen Locomotive Program, CP said it 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, CP will conduct rail service trials and qualification testing to evaluate the technology’s readiness for the freight-rail sector.

Ballard plans to deliver six of its 200 kW fuel cell modules to CP in 2021. Ballard will provide support to enable integration of the modules into the locomotive.

“We are excited to be working with CP, an industry leader in the North American rail sector,” said Randy MacEwen, Ballard President and CEO. “CP’s Hydrogen Locomotive Program will develop North America’s first hydrogen and fuel cell-powered line-haul freight locomotive. In addition to Ballard’s work focused on powering commuter trains in Europe and urban trams in China, CP’s Hydrogen Locomotive Program in North America 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.”

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