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CP to build additional hydrogen locomotives, fueling facilities

By | November 1, 2021

$15 million grant from Alberta agency triggers expansion of program

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Frame and cab of locomotive outside shop building
Frame and cab of locomotive outside shop building
A screen capture from a video by Emissions Reduction Alberta shows Canadian Pacific’s hydrogen fuel-cell locomotive under construction. A grant from the Alberta agency will fund additional locomotives. (Emissions Reduction Alberta)

CALGARY, Alberta — Canadian Pacific will expand its hydrogen locomotive development program from one locomotive to three after receiving a $15 million grant from Emissions Reduction Alberta.

The grant, announced Monday, will also allow the railroad to develop hydrogen production and fueling facilities. It matches the $15 million CP had already planned to invest in the program in 2021.

“In expanding this groundbreaking project, CP is demonstrating its commitment to combating climate change through transformative technology,” CP CEO Keith Creel said in a press release. “I am very pleased that ERA selected this program for a grant and I eagerly anticipate seeing a hydrogen-powered locomotive move CP customer freight in the near future.”

Canadian Pacific announced it would convert an existing locomotive to run on hydrogen in December 2020 [see “Canadian Pacific announces plans to develop hydrogen-powered road locomotive,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 18, 2020] and offered a rendering of the locomotive for the first time last month [see “CP shares image of new hydrogen-powered locomotive,” News Wire, Oct. 4, 2021].

The new funding will be used to build an additional line-haul freight locomotive as well as a yard switcher, as well as hydrogen production and fueling facilities in Calgary and Edmonton. The Calgary facility will use power from the solar farm at CP’s headquarters to power an electrolysis plant; in Edmonton, facilities will include a small-scale steam methane reformation system generating hydrogen from natural gas.

Emissions Reductions Alberta reported on Twitter that the project has the potential to reduce 3 kilotons of CO2 emissions per year, and offered a video of the locomotive conversion in progress.

4 thoughts on “CP to build additional hydrogen locomotives, fueling facilities

  1. The video embedded in the Twitter link at the bottom is definitely worth a look to see some of the details of the conversion. The story (and the press releases, and the tweets) all leave out vital details, like what the overall CO2 generation is for the various modes under discussion: conventional diesel-electric, electrolysis hydrogen-fuel cell, and methane reformation hydrogen-fuel cell. Arm-waving about reducing that burden by “3 kilotons of CO2 per year” isn’t all that helpful if you don’t know what the starting place is.

    1. Yep, Hydrogen is all about how it is produced with some very green ways and some very traditional ways which simple moves the CO2 to a different location, maybe one vs many smaller, but none the less. One thing of note, Locomotives like ships/vessels is one spot where it makes sense to use Hydrogen versus say automobile because of the power the locomotive needs as well as the limitations of hydrogen.
      ..
      Also of note, I wonder if you will start seeing a lot more biodiesel hit the rails like you do with trucking industry. Biodiesel which is different from ethanol is refined just like oil but from say plant oils such as soybean oil and or fats, food wastes is booming in production. To a point that I have read a few stories of bakers complaining that they have to compete for oils.

  2. Hope that they at least preserve 1 of those CM&Q SD40-2Fs in a museum and not convert all of them to Hydrogen locomotives.
    But still I wonder how well this will work.

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