North American railway companies Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) and CSX announced plans for a new joint venture aimed at developing hydrogen locomotives by building and deploying hydrogen conversion kits for diesel locomotives.
Hydrogen is viewed as one of the key building blocks of the transition to a cleaner energy future, particularly for sectors with difficult to abate emissions – such as heavy transport – in which renewable energy solutions such as wind or solar are less practical.
Several major economies have recently announced plans to significantly scale production capacity for clean hydrogen to help achieve their climate goals, including the U.S., with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocating $9.5 billion to clean hydrogen development and launching its clean hydrogen strategy earlier this month.
The new collaboration follows an announcement in 2020 by Canadian Pacific, which subsequently acquired Kansas City Southern to form CPKC, of plans to develop the first line-haul hydrogen-powered locomotive in North America, by retrofitting a diesel locomotive with hydrogen fuel cells and battery technology. To date, the hydrogen locomotive has accumulated more than 1,000 miles of testing in revenue service.
CPKC President and CEO Keith Creel said:
“This innovative collaboration expands our hydrogen locomotive program beyond a single railroad and represents an exciting next step in proving the long-term viability of hydrogen as a solution to emissions reduction for our industry. Our hydrogen locomotive went from concept to reality in 24 months with the first zero emissions hydrogen locomotive having already pulled freight in revenue service. We look forward to this collaboration as we work to create a lower carbon future.”
The companies said that the collaboration will begin with the conversion of one of CSX’s diesel locomotives using the CPKC-developed hydrogen conversions kits.
CSX President and CEO Joe Hinrichs said:
“CSX looks forward to working as a partner with CPKC in the development of the hydrogen locomotive program as it demonstrates our commitment to implementing alternative fuel solutions that could further enhance our emissions performance and offer our customers an even more environmentally-friendly transportation solution. This exciting initiative will greatly benefit from the expertise of CSX’s advanced, large-scale facilities, where the locomotives will be built.”