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Freight Rail

SOFC provide reliable offgrid and backup power for wayside rail assets to keep trains moving safely even when generators or batteries fail.

SOFC Solution

Performer Series SOFC are highly durable battery tenders that power rail crossings, signals, switches and other critical wayside assets — even in extreme conditions.

High Uptimes Are Vital for Freight Rail

Billions of dollars’ worth of freight runs along millions of miles of North American railways every day. When rails experience power outages, trains can’t run. This can cost carriers millions of dollars for every hour trains sit idle. Not to mention public safety concerns when crossings go dark. 

Generators & Batteries Can Be Challenging

Other technologies — like generators and primary batteries — can fail in extreme weather such as hurricanes, wildfires, snowstorms or tornadoes. And they can be expensive to maintain, requiring frequent routine visits to refuel, change oil or replace batteries.

sofc are easier to maintain

SOFC Are Easier to Maintain

Performer Series SOFC are engineered for durability. That’s why they excel in harsh environments.

And with no routine maintenance requirements, Performer Series SOFC rarely need unscheduled visits outside of the monthly checks mandated by law for the rail industry. This helps reduce operating costs and allows for planned visits during optimal weather conditions, making them ideal for remote locations that can be hard to reach in a crisis.

Key Use Cases

Performer Series SOFC provide reliable AC backup or offgrid power in regions prone to weather-induced outages and integrate easily with solar, rechargeable batteries and more.  They are more efficient than diesel or gas generators, running 80 hours on just 20 pounds of propane – compared to 8 hours from a generator. See why major Class I Freight Railroads are switching to SOFC.

Case Study

When Generators Don’t Scale: Full Line Segment A/C Backup

SOFC are fleet-ready so you can easily create a full line segment AC backup system, providing reliability during grid outages.  This case study illustrates why a Class I railroad replaced generators with a fleet of SOFC for AC grid backup.

Case Study

Replacement for Batteries: Hybrid Clean Energy Solution

When paired with solar, wind and other renewables, SOFC can deliver 99.9% uptimes. In this case study, find out why a Class I railroad in the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast used SOFC to hybridize an offgrid power system.

“Our rail customers love the simplicity and low maintenance needs of Performer Series SOFC. Instead of babysitting legacy gas/diesel generators that require constant refueling and maintenance, the SOFC can provide days, weeks and even months of reliable power with minimal personnel involvement.”

– Matt Ulrich, RedHawk Energy Systems

Keeping Wayside Assets Operational: How SOFC Work

When the State of Charge (SOC) of the batteries dips below a preset threshold, the fuel cell automatically cycles on to recharge the batteries. When the upper voltage is reached, the fuel cell returns to standby mode and cools down before powering off. Fuel is consumed only when the system is recharging the battery, which is why it’s so fuel-efficient. Read More: How Cycling Maximizes Fuel Efficiency.

Configuration of SOFC

Benefits of SOFC for Wayside Rail Assets

SOFC are the ideal solution for remote, low-demand power sites in challenging environments. That’s because the compact, lightweight design creates a product that is easy to carry into the field and has a small footprint in a trackside cabinet. Here are more reasons customers are replacing generators and batteries with Performer Series SOFC to harden rail infrastructure against weather events.


Highly Reliable

Customers have reported that our SOFC are so reliable that they feel comfortable letting battery voltage drop as low as 23.5 before the SOFC cycles on to recharge.


Quiet & Hard to Detect

With the noise signature of a desktop computer, SOFC are quiet and less prone to theft than generators, reducing potential asset loss.


While other technologies like diesel generators or direct methanol fuel cells can fail in cold weather, Performer Series SOFC excel because they are engineered to store, start and operate from -40°C to 50°C. They produce no liquid water and are constructed of heat-resistant ceramic tubes that will not freeze.

Low Fuel Needs

Fuel consumption of .25lb of propane per hour offers 80 run hours on 20 pounds of fuel, compared to just 8 hours from a generator. So you’ll have time to schedule a refueling site visit.


No routine maintenance or unscheduled site visits required, due to the fuel efficiency and durability of SOFC.

Compact, Lightweight Design

The unique microtubular stack design yields a highly durable, lightweight product that is easy to transport and has a small footprint inside a trackside cabinet.

Fleet Ready

Performance can be monitored from anywhere because SOFC have flexible communications that can integrate with third-party systems. So you can easily maintain an entire line segment as a fleet.

Turn On Automatically

SOFC cycle on when voltage dips below a preset threshold. They can cycle 300 times and run up to 3,000 hours.

Field-Proven to Withstand Vibration

The SOFC undergo rigorous vibration testing to simulate how they might react to being flown in a helicopter or plane, transported in an ATV or operated for years beside a railroad track.

Interested in using SOFC on your wayside assets?

We can connect you with our trusted rail distributor partner, RedHawk Energy Systems, to find out how SOFC can improve your uptimes and reduce your total energy costs.