H2 View understands researchers from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and locomotive manufacturer, Wabtec will explore the potential of hydrogen combustion engine technology in the rail industry.

It is hoped the team will be able to design train engines that will deliver the same power, range, and cost-effectiveness as current diesel technology.

In the project’s first phase, the ORNL plan to work on hardware changes for retrofitting existing locomotives with a goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the approximate 25,000 locomotives currently in use in North America.

During the second phase, ANL looks to create a modelling framework to study combustion and emission control technologies used in hydrogen combustion engines, with ONRL and Wabtec planning to alter the engine hardware to increase the amount of hydrogen that can be used in engines.

“To reduce carbon dioxide emissions to Net Zero by 2050, we must make dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and emissions in the overall transportation system, including railways,” said Mushin Ameen, Senior Research Scientist at ANL. ​“Hydrogen has been used in light-duty combustion engines. However, hydrogen is a newer area of research in railway applications.”

James Gamble, Vice-President of Engine & Power Solutions Technology at Wabtec, commented, “This collaboration with Argonne and Oak Ridge national laboratories with DOE support will advance the development of hydrogen technology within Wabtec’s existing industry-leading platforms for medium-speed engines. Railroads will be able to greatly reduce emissions and operating costs while maintaining commonality within their current fleet of trains.”

H2 View’s Hydrogen Mobility Snap Summit – November 29

With the mobility pillar consistently a hot topic for hydrogen markets and arguably the most anticipated and relatable application of the energy transition, H2 View stages a Mobility Snap Summit this November to summarise the progress made in 2022 and look ahead to what’s still to come.

Infrastructure challenges remain. Questions linger over policy and implementation. Many wonder which strand of the transport sector will blaze the trail in hydrogen power first, and likewise which region. There are clear challenges ahead, yet considerable progress made in 2022 and bright spots ahead in 2023 and beyond.

Join H2 View this November for a half-day online event dedicated to unearthing the progress made, dissecting the challenges to be met and establishing the state-of-play across mobility as 2023 approaches. Find more information here.

Premium Subscribers to H2 View have access to this event as part of their subscription package; non-subscribers can secure access to the event with a delegate ticket ($99). All delegates can access the event on-demand from 1st December.