CZ Loco Researches Hydrogen-Powered Locomotive

CZ LOKO is looking into the feasibility of building a hydrogen-powered locomotive. This has tentatively been named the HydrogenShunter 1000.

Currently the Czech locomotive manufacturer’s project is in the study phase. This will determine whether the company will go on to develop a prototype.

CZ Loko's HydrogenShunter 1000
CZ Loko’s HydrogenShunter 1000

The project was announced at a technical seminar hosted by the Association of Railway Freight Carriers of the Czech Republic (Žesnad) by CZ Loko Sales Director Jan Kutálek.

At the event Kutálek noted the challenges the European Green Deal has brought the industry and his company’s response. He discussed CZ Loko’s development of two types of dual and hybrid locomotives, in addition to the need to monitor unconventional solutions such as hydrogen.

He went on to say that the Green Deal entails a fundamental change in the behaviour of the entire EU market, but unfortunately the dynamics of change is much more considerable than the market’s ability to adapt to them.

Noting that green innovations are costly, and can only be developed by the most powerful companies, he pointed out that some great innovations come to a dead end when evaluations show they’re simply not operationally and/or financially sustainable.

This was the reason CZ LOKO abandoned the development of a compressed natural gas (CNG) locomotive. After completed the technical design and building a prototype it discovered mass production was unrealistic and the project was scrapped.

Jan Kutálek, CZ Loko Sales Director, said:

“But without these innovative projects, we would have never moved on. Thanks to them,we now know what not to do, but we still only suspect which way to go. We are looking for an option that is not too demanding in terms of building additional infrastructure, that allows for modular solutions and a common maintenance base with our other vehicles.

“In our view, the question is not who will be the first one in the European market, but who will be the most successful one and will come up with the most effective solution. This is what we are focused on.”

CZ Loko is developing a number of ‘green’ locomotive solutions in addition to the potential HydrogenShunter 1000. This includes a battery locomotive for light shunting called the E-Shunter 300.

There is also the DualShunter 2000, a dual locomotive combining trolley power and a diesel engine, and the HybridShunter 1000, a plug-in hybrid locomotive for shunting.

The DualShunter 2000 is expected go into operation in Italy in 2023 and then the Czech Republic in 2025. Other countries will follow.

The company plans to launch the HybridShunter 1000 in 2026.

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