Sierra Railroad Company’s freight division Sierra Northern Railway (Sera) has unveiled the design concept of a new hydrogen-driven and zero-emission switching locomotive.

SERA received $4m from the California Energy Commission for the design and integration, as well as a demonstration of a hydrogen fuel cell switching locomotive.

The locomotive, which is based on hydrogen fuel-cell technology, is expected to cut down transportation air pollutant and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

It will replace an older tier zero diesel locomotive.

The new locomotive will integrate an advanced hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen storage, advanced battery, and systems control technologies.

SERA president Kennan Beard III said: “We are pleased to present this new look for the Sierra Northern Railway Zero Emission Hydrogen Switching Locomotive as we continue to refine our design and prepare to build and test the locomotive.

“This new look combines the future of hydrogen (dark blue) with California’s green future (dark and light green) with Sierra’s strong tradition of switching locomotives for the goods movement sector.”

SERA, which is the technical lead, is collaborating with GTI Energy as the formal applicant to the California Energy Commission.

Railpower Tech, Optifuel Systems UC Riverside Center For Environmental Research and Technology, and Velocity Strategies are among the other technical partners.

The partners also include Valley Vision, Ballard Power Systems, WHA International, Southern California Gas Company, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, and The Low-Carbon Resources Initiative (LCRI).

At present, SERA runs around 75 miles of track in Northern California and 30 miles in Southern California.