Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) on Nov. 1 awarded Canadian Pacific’s Hydrogen Locomotive Program a $15 million 50% matching grant to expand the initiative to three locomotives, install hydrogen production facilities at two locations, and create a “global center of excellence in hydrogen and freight rail systems” in Alberta. CP is receiving the grant from ERA’s Shovel Ready Challenge program. It builds on the $15 million CP already planned to invest in the development project in 2021.
In December 2020, CP announced it would design and build North America’s first line-haul hydrogen-powered locomotive using fuel cells and batteries to power the locomotive’s electric traction motors (see video of ongoing work below). With the grant, CP said it “will build upon its early program research to convert an additional line-haul locomotive and a yard switcher locomotive. This work will refine the process of converting diesel-electric powertrains to hydrogen-electric powertrains over a series of three categories of locomotive, which collectively represent most locomotives in use throughout North America. CP’s Hydrogen Locomotive Program will demonstrate and evaluate the technical performance of hydrogen-powered locomotives and supporting fueling infrastructure in real-world operations. The program will generate critical industry knowledge and experience that will inform commercialization and future development.”
To support hydrogen locomotive operations, the project will include installation of hydrogen production and fueling facilities at CP railyards in Calgary and Edmonton. The Calgary fueling facility will include an electrolysis plant to produce hydrogen from water. This facility will operate on renewable power from solar panels at CP’s headquarters campus and produce zero greenhouse gas emissions. The Edmonton facility includes a small-scale steam methane reformation system that will generate hydrogen from Alberta’s natural gas resources. The system, CP said, will be constructed to accommodate the possible future addition of greenhouse gas capture equipment.
“In expanding this groundbreaking project, CP is demonstrating its commitment to combatting climate change through transformative technology,” said CP President and CEO Keith Creel. “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.”
“Alberta is investing to lead the transition to affordable, reliable and clean energy. CP’s initiative represents a highly compelling opportunity to catalyze the hydrogen economy in Alberta and around the world,” said Steve MacDonald, CEO of Emissions Reduction Alberta. “The project will help scale up technology and bring down the costs of deploying hydrogen to address the critical challenge of decarbonizing the long haul, heavy-freight sector.”