Chevron has signed a memorandum of understanding with Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, and BNSF Railway to demonstrate hydrogen-fuelled locomotives.

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The companies plan to confirm that hydrogen fuel is a feasible alternative to traditional fuels in line-haul rail.

Progress Rail will design and build a prototype hydrogen fuel cell locomotive, Chevron will develop the fuelling concept and infrastructure, and BNSF will provide the lines that the locomotive will be tested on.

"Chevron is dedicated to scaling up its hydrogen business to help meet the needs of customers who want to reduce the lifecycle carbon emissions of their operations," said Jeff Gustavson, president of Chevron New Energies.

"Our work with Progress Rail and BNSF is an important step toward advancing new use cases for hydrogen in heavy duty transport, as we seek to create a commercially viable hydrogen economy."

Chevron has upped its investment in hydrogen with the launch of its New Energies business earlier this year. The US supermajor has a partnership with Cummins to use its electrolysers for hydrogen production and is working with Toyota to commercialise hydrogen fuel in the transportation sector.

The company previously announced a partnership with Caterpillar to demonstrate a hydrogen-fuelled locomotive and explore stationary power applications.

"Caterpillar has made great strides in moving our advanced power technology forward. Our Progress Rail team will leverage that knowledge and experience toward a hydrogen fuel cell locomotive," said Joe Creed, Caterpillar group president of energy and transportation.

"Working with Chevron and BNSF will allow us to advance hydrogen technology across the industry."

The new announcement adds BNSF’s rail lines to the agreement.

"BNSF is pleased to collaborate with Chevron and Progress Rail in piloting locomotives powered by hydrogen fuel cells," said John Lovenburg, vice president of environmental for BNSF.

"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."