Diesel-electric switcher locomotive to run on hydrogen-electric power

The first implementation of Loop technology in a rail transport application has begun with the collaboration of Canadian fuel experts Loop Energy and Hydrogen In Motion (H2M) to convert a diesel-electric switcher locomotive to run on hydrogen-electric power.

The ambitious project entails installing a low-pressure solid-state hydrogen storage tank designed by H2M as well as a 50kw eFlow fuel cell system from Loop Energy.

According to Grace Quan, CEO of H2M, “this is an exciting era for the hydrogen fuel cell industry as it demonstrates that it is technically and financially feasible to convert diesel-powered switcher locomotives to hydrogen fuel cell-based power systems.”

The trademark trapezoid plates that form the foundation of Loop Energy’s unique eFlow fuel cell architecture provide uniform current and power density, boost gas velocity, and provide enhanced durability, power, and efficiency in addition to better water management. George Rubin, Chief Commercial Officer of Loop Energy, stated that as a Vancouver-based company, “we’re excited about partnering with like-minded organizations on practical, sustainable mobility solutions in support of a clean energy future for the Canadian economy.” This is a huge step toward making zero-emission rail travel a reality thanks to a safe and portable hydrogen storage system on board.

The partners closely collaborate with the Simon Fraser University Fuel Cell Research Laboratory, Southern Railway of BC, and the University of British Columbia Okanagan School of Engineering (UBCO) (FCReL). As part of the research, UBCO will simulate H2M tanks computationally, and SRY plans to use the results to improve its own train operations and become carbon neutral.