Canadian railway company Canadian Pacific (CP) announced plans to develop a line-haul hydrogen-powered locomotive, the first in North America. According to CP, the company plans to retrofit a line-haul locomotive with hydrogen fuel cells and battery technology to drive the locomotive’s electric traction motors.

CP stated that the new program builds on the company’s prior experience with testing low-emitting locomotive technologies, including biofuels, compressed natural gas and battery-powered solutions. According to CP, the company will conduct rail service trials and qualification testing on the hydrogen-powered locomotive to evaluate the technology’s readiness for the freight-rail sector.

Keith Creel, CP’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said:

“This is a globally significant project that positions CP at the leading edge of decarbonizing the freight transportation sector. CP will continue to focus on finding innovative solutions to transform our operations and adapt our business, positioning CP and our industry as leaders for a sustainable future.”

CP has committed to pursue efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and to set science-based targets for its GHG emissions reduction goals. Earlier this year, the company released its first statement on climate change, acknowledging the effects of rising global temperatures. The company has adopted reporting standards including the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, and has committed to setting science-based GHG emissions reduction targets.

CP has also been the focus of investor engagement on climate change. In November, activist investor Christopher Hohn’s $30 billion fund, TCI Fund Management announced that it has submitted proposals to CP and to Canadian National Railway (CN) requesting that the companies present climate action plans at their upcoming shareholder meetings and asking that the companies’ plans detail their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels as well as their strategies to reduce emissions in the future.