Union Pacific Combines Strategic Energy Conservation and Technology to Reduce Emissions
Omaha, Neb., January 18, 2008 While automakers showcase prototypes of environmentally friendly vehicles during the North American International Motor Show, Union Pacific’s green initiatives today are helping to reduce emissions through a mix of strategic energy conservation and new technology programs:
- Acquired newer locomotives and implemented operational changes leading to a double-digit improvement in fuel efficiency;
- Created and deployed the Fuel Masters program designed to reward locomotive engineers for efficiently operating trains;
- Tested the world’s first diesel-hybrid switch locomotive and new devices designed to reduce diesel engine emissions in older locomotives.
Union Pacific – the largest automotive carrier west of the Mississippi River – has the greenest locomotive fleet in North America. An example of Union Pacific’s commitment to environmental excellence is the Fuel Masters program which compares a locomotive engineer’s fuel consumption performance against fellow engineers in the same territory. A two-month snapshot of each engineer’s fuel consumption performance is used to calculate individual average consumption rates. Each month, engineers in the top 15 to 20 percent of each territory where Union Pacific operates are awarded fuel cards. Engineers achieving the greatest savings are rewarded with $100 fuel cards that they can use to reduce their own fuel costs.
Since 1995, UP has achieved a more than 12 percent improvement in fuel efficiency. In 2007, Union Pacific saved more than 20 million gallons of diesel fuel. The company has more fuel savings improvement opportunities ahead as the Fuel Masters program and other initiatives are refined and expanded throughout the organization. On average, service units using the Fuel Masters program experience a 5 percent reduction in fuel consumption.
Low Emission Technology
Union Pacific uses technology to further reduce fuel consumption and diesel engine exhaust-related emissions in its fleet of more than 7,500 locomotives. Both the "Green Goat" and the "Genset" are environmentally friendly switch locomotives that operate significantly below current emission standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition to the purchase of new environmentally friendly locomotives, Union Pacific has recently embarked on a project to pilot diesel engine technologies and emission reduction devices that will help older locomotives in its fleet operate more efficiently.
Through collaboration with staff at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Ann Arbor, Mich., Union Pacific provided and is currently testing a 3,800-horsepower SD60M locomotive built in January 1992, to serve as the first freight locomotive in North America to be equipped with a set of oxidation catalyst or "oxicat" devices. These devices serve as flow-through catalytic converters. As the diesel engines exhaust flows through these converters, microscopic particles – known as "particulate matter" – generated by the diesel combustion process will be converted into water and carbon dioxide.
In a similar experiment, a 1,500-horsepower yard switching locomotive built in November 1982, also provided by Union Pacific, was retrofitted with a diesel particulate filter or "DPF." The DPF initiative is the result of a four-year program, funded in part by Union Pacific, to assess clean-engine technologies for locomotive applications. The DPF acts as a filter that uses high-temperature silicon carbide blocks to trap particulate matter in the exhaust. As the gases containing the carbon particles accumulate, the device periodically heats the carbon causing it to ignite and burn off as water and carbon dioxide. Union Pacific is currently testing the product in northern California.
Railroad versus Road
According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, if ten percent of inter-city freight now moving by highway were shifted to rail, 2.5 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide would be emitted into the air annually and 200 million gallons of fuel would be saved. Railroads are three times more fuel-efficient than trucks.
Railroad fuel efficiency has increased by 72 percent since 1980. Prior to 1980, a gallon of diesel fuel moved one ton of freight an average of 235 miles. In 2001, the same amount of fuel moved one ton of freight an average of 406 miles. Overall, railroads and rail suppliers have reduced the weight and increased the capacity of rail cars to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
The average freight car capacity is now nearly 93 tons, up 17 percent in the past 20 years. The EPA estimates that for every ton-mile, a typical truck emits roughly three times more nitrogen oxides and particulates than a locomotive.
To learn more about Union Pacific’s environmental efforts go to www.up.com.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America’s premier rail franchise.
For further information, contact James Barnes (402) 544-3560.
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