BNSF Railway Company and Vehicle Projects LLC 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.”