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Ballard Power Systems Inc
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Ballard Power to power Sierra Northern locomotive

2021-04-19 12:20 ET - News Release

Mr. Tim Sasseen reports


Ballard Power Systems Inc. plans to provide fuel cell modules to Sierra Northern Railway -- the freight division of privately owned Sierra Energy Corp., operating in northern California -- to power a zero-emission switching locomotive. A purchase order for the fuel cell modules is expected to be issued by Sierra by midyear 2021. The pilot program will be partially financed by a $4-million award from the California Energy Commission.

Sierra plans to retire a diesel locomotive and replace it with a zero-emission switching locomotive powered by 200 kilowatts of Ballard's FCmove-HD fuel cell module and involving the integration of hydrogen storage together with advanced battery and systems control technologies. Ballard plans to deliver FCmove-HD fuel cell modules to Sierra by 2022 and Sierra intends to put the locomotive into service in 2023.

The new hydrogen-fuelled switching locomotive will displace the need for conventional diesel fuel and will facilitate the improvement of local air quality, as well as a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, noise and odour. The program will establish a platform for widespread deployment in California, where more than 260 switching locomotives and up to 500 intrastate locomotives are currently in service.

Ballard will participate in the program with a multicompany team and will provide applications engineering and field support throughout a six-month demonstration period. The switching locomotive will be refuelled at a new hydrogen station to be constructed by Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

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

Tim Sasseen, Ballard sales manager for California, said: "We are excited to be working with Sierra Northern Railway toward demonstration of a fuel-cell-powered switching locomotive at the Port of West Sacramento. This is another sign of increasing momentum in the deployment of zero-emission fuel cell propulsion solutions in the rail industry across numerous geographies, including North America. Fuel cells offer a compelling value proposition for medium- and heavy-duty motive applications, including rail, bus, truck and marine vessels, which we are keen to demonstrate for a switching locomotive, in addition to our work powering passenger and freight trains."

Short-line and switching locomotives account for a significant share of the total locomotive energy use within the state of California, making short-line operation an excellent test bed for the demonstration of zero-emission technology. Most switching locomotives in California use an average of 50,000 gallons of diesel per year, leading to a potential reduction of more than 12 million gallons of diesel annually -- approximately equivalent to the fuel used by 20,000 light-duty vehicles.

About Ballard Power Systems Inc.

Ballard Power's vision is to deliver fuel cell power for a sustainable planet. Ballard zero-emission PEM fuel cells are enabling electrification of mobility, including buses, commercial trucks, trains, marine vessels, passenger cars and forklift trucks.

We seek Safe Harbor.

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