CANADA: Canadian Pacific has been awarded a C$15m grant from Emissions Reduction Alberta to expand the scope of its hydrogen locomotive programme, the railway announced on November 1.

The 50/50 matching grant from ERA’s Shovel Ready Challenge programme builds on the C$15m that CP expected to invest in during 2021, and is intended to create ‘a global centre of excellence in hydrogen and freight rail systems’ in Alberta. It will enable CP to increase the number of hydrogen locomotive conversions from one to three and add hydrogen production and fueling facilities.

CP announced in December 2020 that it intended to develop North America’s first main line hydrogen-powered locomotive, converting an existing diesel-electric loco and fitting it with fuel cells and batteries.

The additional grant will cover the conversion of a second main line locomotive of a different type and a yard shunter, helping to refine the conversion process.

The ERA grant will also enable the installation of hydrogen production and fuelling facilities at CP’s yards in Calgary and Edmonton to support the operation of the converted locomotives. The Calgary installation will include an electrolysis plant to produce hydrogen from water, powered by renewable energy from solar panels at CP’s headquarters campus nearby. Edmonton will trial a small-scale steam methane reformation system to generate hydrogen from Alberta’s natural gas resources. This will be designed for the ‘possible future addition of greenhouse gas capture equipment’, the railway explained.

CP is looking to evaluate the technical performance of hydrogen locomotives and fuelling infrastructure ‘in real-world operations’. It anticipates that the programme will generate ‘critical industry knowledge and experience that will inform commercialisation and future development’.

‘In expanding this groundbreaking project, CP is demonstrating its commitment to combatting climate change through transformative technology’, explained President & CEO Keith Creel. ‘I am very pleased that ERA selected this programme 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’, added ERA CEO Steve MacDonald. ‘CP’s initiative represents a highly compelling opportunity to catalyse the hydrogen economy in Alberta and around the world. The project will help scale up technology and bring down the costs of deploying hydrogen to address the critical challenge of decarbonising the long haul, heavy-freight sector.’