11 Mar 2021

Ballard Fuel Cells to Power North America’s First Line-Haul Hydrogen-Fuelled Locomotive

11 Mar 2021  by Joanna Sampson   

Ballard Power Systems’ fuel cells are set to power North America’s first line-haul hydrogen-powered locomotive.

Being developed by Canadian Pacific (CP) through its Hydrogen Locomotive Program, CP will retrofit a former diesel-powered locomotive with Ballard’s 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 said it plans to deliver six of its 200kW fuel cell modules to CP in 2021 and will also provide support to enable integration of the modules into the locomotive.

“How we power our trains matters to our customers, employees, shareholders and to the communities we operate in,” said CP President and CEO Keith Creel.

“This technology holds the possibility of eliminating emissions from freight train operations, which already represent the most efficient method of moving goods over land.”

Randy MacEwen, Ballard President and CEO, added, “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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