Following approval at the March 2021 Business Meeting, this project was executed and kicked off in April 2021. GTI is in the process of finalizing a subcontract with Sierra Northern Railway to begin technical work. In the meantime, the team is consolidating a list of Technical Advisory Committee members, working on the Kickoff Benefits Questionnaire, and sharing information about the project with relevant entities (e.g., California Air Resources Board, U.S. Department of Energy).
This project is integrating a hydrogen fuel cell module, onboard hydrogen storage, and a battery module to collectively provide an efficient zero-emission alternative to diesel switcher locomotives. The project is building and demonstrating a hydrogen fuel cell switcher locomotive over six months with Sierra Northern Railway, a Class III short line railroad that serves the Port of West Sacramento. By analyzing in-service performance data and evaluating other suitable rail applications for hydrogen fuel cell technology in California, the project aims to lay the foundation for commercialization to expand hydrogen use in the rail sector.
The hydrogen switcher locomotive will displace 10,000 gallons of diesel consumption per year by using hydrogen fuel. This will result in 225,004 lbs/yr of reduced carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. The project lays the foundation for broader commercialization of zero emission locomotive technology to decarbonize the rail sector.
The hydrogen switcher locomotive will be designed to meet Federal Railroad Administration safety and crashworthiness standards. Safety data will be recorded during the demonstration to inform codes and standards development for hydrogen fuel cell-powered locomotives.