CP Hydrogen Locomotive Program Advances

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Canadian Pacific's hydrogen fuel cell-powered linehaul freight locomotive (H20EL; pictured) began running under its own power earlier this year.

Canadian Pacific's hydrogen fuel cell-powered linehaul freight locomotive (H20EL; pictured) began running under its own power earlier this year.

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 as part of Canadian Pacific’s (CP) Hydrogen Locomotive Program.

CP’s Hydrogen Locomotive Program began in December 2020 with the retrofit of an existing diesel-electric linehaul locomotive. The diesel prime mover 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 linehaul units and one switcher), install hydrogen production facilities at two locations, and create a “global center of excellence in hydrogen and freight rail systems” in Alberta.

The new hydrogen production and refueling facilities will be built, starting later this year, at CP’s Calgary and Edmonton railyards, according to ATCO, which is described as “a diversified global corporation” with investments in Structures & Logistics (workforce and residential housing, modular facilities; construction, site support services; workforce lodging services; facility operations and maintenance; defense operations services; and disaster and emergency management services); Utilities (electricity and natural gas transmission and distribution, and international electricity operations); Energy Infrastructure (electricity generation, energy storage and industrial water solutions); Retail Energy (electricity and natural gas retail sales); Transportation (ports and transportation logistics); and Commercial Real Estate.

Each site will include a 1 MW electrolyzer as well as compression, storage and dispensing for locomotive refueling. In Calgary, the electrolyzer will be powered in part by renewable electricity from CP’s existing 5 MW solar-power facility co-located 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 expertise in hydrogen production and fueling to our Hydrogen Locomotive Program,” CP Assistant Vice President Operations Technology Kyle Mulligan said. “The Calgary and Edmonton fueling stations will be essential to bringing zero-emissions hydrogen locomotive propulsion into reality as part of CP’s commitment to sustainable and responsible operations.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with CP to advance hydrogen in yet another energy application, in this case for use as a commercial transportation fuel,” ATCO Executive Vice President, Corporate Development Bob Myles said.

In related developments, CP on Jan. 24 shared via Twitter a video of the first fully painted H20EL (Hydrogen Zero Emissions Locomotive; see below), which the railroad said had run under its own power.

Additionally, Ballard Power Systems on Jan. 18 reported that it will deliver eight additional 200-kilowatt fuel cell modules to CP this year for its Hydrogen Locomotive Program; CP ordered an initial six 200-kilowatt fuel cell modules from Ballard in March 2021.

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