Mote begins engineering work on biomass-to-hydrogen plant with carbon capture
Volvo Penta, TICO complete build of prototype electric terminal tractor

Caterpillar, BNSF and Chevron to pursue hydrogen locomotive demonstration

Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Company, BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), and Chevron USA, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to advance the demonstration of a locomotive powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The goal of the demonstration is to confirm the feasibility and performance of hydrogen fuel for use as a viable alternative to traditional fuels for line-haul rail. Hydrogen has the potential to play a significant role as a lower-carbon alternative to diesel fuel for transportation, with hydrogen fuel cells becoming a means to reduce emissions.

Under the MOU, the parties are working toward reaching definitive agreements on a demonstration with three primary objectives.

  1. Progress Rail plans to design and build a prototype hydrogen fuel cell locomotive for line-haul and/or other types of rail service.

  2. Chevron expects to develop the fueling concept and infrastructure to support this use of the locomotive.

  3. The prototype hydrogen fuel cell locomotive is expected to be demonstrated on BNSF's lines for a mutually agreed upon period of time.

Caterpillar has made great strides in moving our advanced power technology forward. Our Progress Rail team will leverage that knowledge and experience toward a hydrogen fuel cell locomotive. Working with Chevron and BNSF will allow us to advance hydrogen technology across the industry.

—Joe Creed, Caterpillar group president of Energy and Transportation

As previously announced, Caterpillar Inc. is collaborating with Chevron for the demonstration of hydrogen projects in transportation and stationary power applications.

The proposed demonstration project is subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements with customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval. If established, additional details about the hydrogen locomotive demonstration, including where the initial pilot will take place and its timing, will be released at a later date.



I am always somewhat suspicious when an major oil an gas producer is developing the fueling concept and infrastructure to support the use of hydrogen, as in, where is the hydrogen coming from. I suspect that we all know the answer. The only question is the color of the hydrogen. Probably gray with promises to become blue but unfortunately blue hydrogen is mostly a petrochemical company scam. I suppose that I should be a bit happy that they are at least using fuel cells and not proposing hydrogen fueled ICEs.

Last year I read an article imaging the future in railroad in 2040. They imagined using a combination of sections of catenary and batteries. I think that this makes much more sense and cents as it will be lower cost in the long run.


Store the carbon use it later
Mote begins engineering work on biomass-to-hydrogen plant with carbon capture

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This 11/11/2021 LLBL study shows that Battery Tender cars could be cost effective, no catenary required: “Economic, environmental and grid-resilience benefits of converting diesel trains to battery-electric”,



If you are going to store the carbon, you need to store it forever to keep it out of the atmosphere. I think that the Mote project is quite promising but use the hydrogen where is really needed. For instance, to make ammonia or other hydrogen based chemicals.


I had seen a shortened version of this article in green car congress a few weeks back. Thanks for the link to the full article. However, I still think that for heavy haul on lines that have frequent use and especially in mountainous terrain that a combination of catenary and battery is best.

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Watched a show on NHK about JR Freight which uses the existing catenaries from the passenger railway. They are continuing to upgrade their intermodal shipping and illustrate how an electric rail system should work.
However, this will be difficult in the US since the infrastructure does not exist particularly in the West. This article asks “Is electrifying the freight rail network cost prohibitive?“ discusses problems and possible solutions.
The article references Bill Moyer’s 2016 book “Solutionary Rail” where he suggests that high-volume freight rail corridors should be the ones with catenaries, and in places where installing catenaries would be too cost-prohibitive, the battery-electric locomotive, such as the one developed by Wabtec and BNSF can run on battery power.


Make carbon fiber
Natural gas was stored for millions of years

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