Sierra Northern Railway wins funding for hydrogen technology development - Smart Energy Decisions

Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  March 22, 2021

Sierra Northern Railway wins funding for hydrogen technology development

Sierra Northern Railway was recently awarded nearly $4 million to fund the development and integration of a hydrogen fuel cell switching locomotive in partnership with GTI.

The fund was provided by the California Energy Commission with the intention that GTI and Sierra Northern Railway will demonstrate the potential of hydrogen fuel-cell technology to reduce air pollution and emissions within the transportation sector. The freight railway will retire a diesel locomotive and replace it with a zero-emission model using hydrogen technology.

“We are pleased to partner with this great team to build and test this innovative zero emission switching locomotive,” Kennan H. Beard III, president of Sierra Northern Railway, said in a statement. “We believe this project will help lead the switching locomotive industry to an emissions free pathway in all ports in the State of California.”

The project will integrate advanced hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen storage, advanced battery, and systems control technologies to commercialize lower-emission alternatives to the transportation sector in the future. The technology will be tested first on short-line and switching locomotives that operate on the first and last miles of the national freight network; the use of zero-emission technologies in this area could lead to a reduction of more than 12 million gallons of diesel per year.

GTI and Sierra Northern Railway are also working on this project with technical partners Railpower Tech LLC, Ballard Power Systems, Optifuel Systems LLC, UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, Valley Vision, Velocity Strategies, Southern California Gas Company, and the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.

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