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UK consortium developing biogas and hydrogen dual-fuel Class 66 locomotive

A consortium of Clean Air Power and Freightliner has secured almost £0.4 million (US$0.55 million) of government funding to develop a biogas and hydrogen dual-fuel solution for the Class 66 locomotive. The technology is one of the 30 winners of the latest round of the First of a Kind (FOAK) competition announced by the Transport Secretary.

The Freightliner Class 66 locomotives are 3300hp diesel electric mainline units introduced in 1998. Maximum speed is 75 mph.


This is the first time that this hydrogen dual-fuel technology, which is used in the road industry, will be applied to the rail freight sector on such a widely used class of locomotive. Work will commence on 1 July and take place over a nine-month period.

The key project partners are Freightliner, which operates more than 113 Class 66s in the UK, and Clean Air Power, providers of dual-fuel solutions for freight. The project is also supported by Network Rail, Tarmac, Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB), Flogas, Carrickarory and the University of Birmingham.

The project will investigate the ability to substitute diesel with both hydrogen and biogas on the Class-66 locomotive which hauls more ethan 80% of freight on the UK rail network. This will be achieved by retrofitting the Class 66 with Clean Air Power’s precision injection technology.

This solution will support a program to decarbonize freight operating companies’ diesel fleets in a cost-efficient manner that does not require significant short-term investment and facilitates operational learning in support of a longer-term fleet replacement programme, potentially using 100% hydrogen fuel.

Exhaust emissions will be assessed in line with the latest RSSB guidance to understand both the baseline conditions and the impact of dual-fuelling for both hydrogen and biogas. Emissions and substitution data is a key output of this project and will be available to RSSB.

All work on locomotives, static testing and emission data collection will be carried out at Freightliner’s vehicle maintenance facility in Leeds, supported by Carrickarory Consultancy and in consultation with RSSB.



Diesel engines burning hydrogen produce more NOx

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