NORTH American Class 1 Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) has ordered 18 200kW fuel cell engines from Ballard Power Systems to support the expansion of CPKC’s hydrogen locomotive programme.

Over the past two years, Ballard has supplied Canadian Pacific (CP), which has since merged with Kansas City Southern (KCS), with 20 fuel cell engines for use in three different types of locomotive, with a combined fuel cell power of 4MW.

These locomotives have been undergoing field testing since 2022. Ballard says that further development will focus on range across variations in temperature, heavy haul applications, fine-tuning the auxiliary load to avoid waste, and increasing the number of hours on current.

The success of these trials, combined with the need to achieve CPKC’s emissions reduction goals, has resulted in the significant expansion of the original hydrogen locomotive programme.

“Our hydrogen locomotive programme has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from locomotive operations, supporting the transition to a lower-carbon future in the rail freight sector,” said CPKC’s assistant vice-president, operations technology, Dr Kyle Mulligan. “We are excited to expand development of these pioneering zero-emission locomotives with collaborators like Ballard.”

“We are thrilled to support our partner, CPKC, as they expand their development of fuel cell-powered locomotives to decarbonise critical transport routes,” said Ballard’s vice-president of rail and emerging markets, Mr Seungsoo Jung. “Our teams have been working hand-in-hand to ensure success of this programme and we are excited for the future with CPKC to help scale their growing hydrogen fleet.”