Rail Firms Developing Fuel Cell Switch Locomotive

Experimental hydrogen fuel cell locomotive being developed by BNSF Railway Company and Vehicle Projects LLC.

Published: 10-Jan-2008

BNSF Railway Company and Vehicle Projects LLC today announced they are developing an experimental hydrogen fuel cell switch locomotive. The experimental switch locomotive has the potential to reduce air pollution, is not dependent on oil for fuel, and could serve as a mobile backup power source for military and civilian disaster relief efforts.

The switch locomotive is currently under development and field testing is scheduled to begin later this year.

"At BNSF, we believe that it is good business to minimize our impact on the planet and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the communities we serve," said Craig Hill, vice president, BNSF Mechanical and Value Engineering. "While it's not a proven technology and the project is still in its infancy, we believe investments like the fuel cell switch locomotive are important for the advancement of new technology. BNSF has always been a leader in the protection of our air, land and water and is proud to champion this initiative with the dedication and commitment from partners like Vehicle Projects and support from Senator Sam Brownback."

"As a nation, two widely-accepted issues are global climate change and energy insecurity, which have a common factor -- oil," said Arnold Miller, president, Vehicle Projects LLC. "The world burns millions of barrels of oil for energy, and the waste carbon is then emitted to the atmosphere. Because they don't rely on oil as a fuel source, fuel cells solve these two issues. Along with our principal partners, BNSF and the US Army, we at Vehicle Projects are developing proof-of-concept hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that are leading the way to this new technology."

Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) stated, "I'm pleased to have been working for the past two years to procure funding for the fuel cell locomotive. The progress that BNSF and Vehicle Projects are making in its development is remarkable, and their work is helping to wean America off foreign oil."

About BNSF's Environmental Efforts

BNSF is a leader in environmental stewardship. Rail is the most fuel efficient mode of surface transportation, moving a ton of freight more than 400 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel. As the rail industry's intermodal leader, each BNSF intermodal train can take more than 300 long-haul trucks off the nation's crowded highways.

About BNSF Railway Company

A subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (NYSE: BNI: 79.97, +2.12, +2.72%), BNSF Railway Company operates one of the largest North American rail networks, with about 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is among the world's top transporters of intermodal traffic, moves more grain than any other American railroad, carries the components of many of the products we depend on daily, and hauls enough low-sulfur coal to generate about ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States. BNSF is an industry leader in Web-enabling a variety of customer transactions at www.bnsf.com.

About Vehicle Projects

Vehicle Projects LLC (since 1998) serves heavy industry and transport by developing and demonstrating prototype fuel cell vehicles that improve productivity, worker health and safety, environmental quality, or energy efficiency and security. Its core in-house activities are project conception and fundraising, vehicle engineering design, and consortium organization and management.

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