Freightliner has joined forces with a consortium of specialist suppliers to develop a dual-fuel solution that will see a Class 66 locomotive run on both hydrogen and biogas – and the project has just received government funding.
Together, the group have said they will investigate the ability to substitute diesel with the hydrogen and biogas mix on the vehicle which currently hauls over 80% of freight on the UK rail network.
To do so, they will retrofit the Class 66 with Clean Air Power’s precision injection technology, creating a locomotive that can run on a combination of diesel, biogas and hydrogen.
The group’s work is believed to be the first time that such technology, which is widely used in the road industry, will be applied to the rail freight sector on an important and widely used class of locomotive.
Key project partners include Freightliner and Clean Air Power. The project is also supported by Network Rail, Tarmac, Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB), Flogas, Carrickarory and the University of Birmingham.
If successful, the group will drastically they hope to drastically reduce carbon emissions.
Commenting on the development, Tim Shakerley, Managing Director at Freightliner UK, said, “Freightliner is excited to be a key partner in this pioneering decarbonisation project.
“As the largest freight operator of electric traction, we already have a number of environmentally motivated initiatives underway and are delighted to be working with Clean Air Power and other partners on this additional government-funded project.
“With decarbonisation high on the agenda, these initiatives will further support the government’s pledge to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”
The technology is one of the 30 winners of the latest round of the First of a Kind (FOAK) competition announced by the Transport Secretary. Already the safest and greenest mode of ground-freight transportation, the competition has been aimed at making the railways even cleaner, greener and more passenger friendly.
Dan Skelton, Managing Director of Clean Air Power, added, “We’re delighted to be working with Freightliner and other partners on this project. All parties are focussed on delivering a fully functioning low-carbon, low-emission, hydrogen-friendly Class 66 locomotive.
“Our solution offers a route to viable, long-term decarbonisation and its associated cost benefits, which will be practical to implement and scale. With the know-how and expertise, we share, we’re looking forward to this new and exciting initiative making a real difference.”