DATONG, China—A fuel cell-powered locomotive has rolled off the assembly line at CRRC’s factory here. It is designed to run at a speeds of 80 kilometers per hour, with 700 kilowatts of continuous power for 25 hours. Its maximum traction load on a straight track exceeds 5,000 tons.
"The locomotive uses a combination of a hydrogen fuel cell system and a high-power lithium battery," says Zhao Mingyuan, chief engineer of CRRC Datong Co. Ltd. “Compared with traditional fuel and electric locomotives, hydrogen-fueled hybrid locomotives are not only safer and more environmentally friendly but also quieter, cheaper and easier to maintain.”
According to Mingyuan, the modular design of the locomotive gives it the flexibility to utilize different power levels and power modes to cater to multiple applications, such as operating in tunnels and mines.
Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific engineers are currently developing North America's first line-haul hydrogen-powered locomotive. They are retrofitting a machine with hydrogen fuel cells and battery technology to drive the locomotive's electric traction motors.
“The work builds on [our] prior experience with testing low-emitting locomotive technologies, including biofuels, compressed natural gas and battery-powered solutions,” says Keith Creel, CP's president and CEO. “Nearly the entire freight locomotive fleet of all railway operators in North America consists of diesel-powered units, representing the industry's most significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.”