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CPKC orders 3.6MW of Ballard fuel cells for expansion of hydrogen locomotive program

Ballard Power Systems received an order for additional fuel cell engines from Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC). These eighteen, 200 kW fuel cell engines (3.6 MW total) are planned for delivery in 2023 and will support the expansion of CPKC’s Hydrogen Locomotive Program.

Over the past two years, Ballard has supplied CPKC with 20 fuel cell engines for use in three different types of locomotives, with combined fuel cell power of 4MW. These locomotives have been undergoing field testing in 2022 and early 2023 with successful tests, proving the capabilities of Ballard’s hydrogen fuel cell technology in locomotive applications.

Further development on range across temperature variations, heavy hauling, fine tuning auxiliary load to avoid waste, increased number of hours on current and additional units will support continued technological evolution. The success of these trials, combined with the need to achieve CPKC’s emissions goals, has resulted in the significant expansion of the original hydrogen locomotive program.

Our hydrogen locomotive program has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from locomotive operations, supporting the transition to a lower-carbon future in the freight rail sector.

—Dr Kyle Mulligan, AVP Operations Technology

CPKC is the combination of two historic railways: Canadian Pacific (CP) and Kansas City Southern (KCS). Today, CPKC is the first and only transnational rail network in North America. CPKC moves essential goods across a 20,000-mile network to support economic growth throughout Canada, the US and Mexico.

In June, CPKC and CSX Corporation announced their intent to enter into a joint venture for the building and deployment of hydrogen locomotive conversion kits for diesel electric locomotives.

As an initial step in the collaboration, CSX plans to convert one of its diesel locomotives using a hydrogen conversion kit developed by CPKC. The conversion work will be done at CSX’s Huntington, West Virginia locomotive shop.

In December 2020, Canadian Pacific (CP) announced plans to develop North America’s first line-haul hydrogen-powered locomotive by retrofitting a diesel freight locomotive with hydrogen fuel cells and battery technology to drive the locomotive's electric traction motors. The prototype, designed and built by in-house CP engineers, made its first movement under its own power in late 2021. By the end of 2022, the locomotive had made its first revenue moves and now has accumulated more than 1,000 miles of testing in revenue service.


CPKC has deployed a second hydrogen locomotive for testing in terminal operations, a program expansion supported by funding awarded by Emissions Reduction Alberta and the Government of Canada Low Carbon Economy Fund. The second hydrogen locomotive is expected to enter service later in 2023.


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