Caterpillar’s Progress Rail has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BNSF Railway Company and Chevron USA to proceed with the demonstration of a locomotive driven by hydrogen fuel cells.

The aim is to showcase hydrogen fuel’s viability and performance by checking if it can be utilised as an alternative to traditional fuels for line-haul rail.

The focus of these firms will be to reach definitive agreements on a demonstration with three main objectives.

Progress Rail intends to develop and build a prototype hydrogen fuel cell locomotive for line-haul and/or other kinds of rail service.

Chevron plans to develop the fuelling concept and infrastructure to back the use of the locomotive.

Lastly, the model hydrogen fuel cell locomotive is projected to be showcased on BNSF’s tracks for a mutually agreed upon time period.

BNSF environmental vice-president John Lovenburg said: “BNSF is pleased to collaborate with Chevron and Progress Rail in piloting locomotives powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

“This technology could one day be a lower-carbon solution for line-haul service, as it has the potential to reduce carbon emissions and remain cost-competitive.”

Earlier, Caterpillar teamed up with Chevron for hydrogen projects’ demonstration in transportation as well as stationary power applications.

This demonstration project awaits customary closing conditions, such as regulatory clearance.

Once approved, supplementary details regarding the hydrogen locomotive demonstration will be disclosed.

This September, Progress Rail partnered with Norfolk Southern Corporation on the first EMD GP34ECO locomotive, designed for sustainable operations.