Railroad Industry's First Exhaust Catalyst Being Tested in Los Angeles
Union Pacific Continues to Evaluate New Technology to Reduce Emissions
Omaha, Neb., January 17, 2007 Union Pacific is beginning a year-long field test in the Los Angeles area of the rail industry’s first long-haul diesel electric locomotive modified with "after market" experimental technology aimed at reducing exhaust emissions.
"The testing and evaluation of this experimental exhaust technology emphasizes Union Pacific’s voluntary efforts to go beyond compliance in exploring new technologies that could reduce emissions," said Bob Grimaila, Union Pacific's vice president-environment and safety. "We have and will continue to work hard to build the most environmentally friendly locomotive fleet in North America and we are committed to protecting our environment by reducing emissions."
An experimental "oxidation catalyst" filtering canister, or "oxicat," was installed inside the diesel engine’s exhaust manifold. The special catalytic material chemically reduces the amount of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter generated by the diesel engine, much like a catalytic converter on today’s cars and trucks.
The diesel engine has been outfitted with various sensors that can be remotely monitored with Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology. Remote "real-time" monitoring capabilities help researchers evaluate how the experimental oxidation catalyst is functioning. Its emissions performance and the maintenance requirements for the locomotive will be assessed at the end of the one-year test period.
The National Vehicle Fuels and Emissions Laboratory (NVFEL) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is funding most of the "oxidation catalyst" test.
The locomotive was subjected to EPA locomotive standards testing before and after the "oxidation catalyst" was installed, using standard EPA "locomotive certification" fuel and "ultra-low sulfur diesel" (ULSD) fuel that UP is now using for intrastate locomotives in California.
The standing, or static, test results were:
- Using ULSD fuel without the oxidation catalyst installed dropped particulate emissions by about 4 percent compared to the use of standard EPA diesel fuel.
- Using ULSD fuel with the oxidation catalyst installed reduced particulate emissions by approximately 50 percent, unburned hydrocarbons by 38 percent and carbon monoxide by 82 percent.
During this initial testing, the 17-year-old locomotive met the latest EPA "Tier 2" new locomotive requirements for particulate matter. The EPA’s Tier 2 requirements are for new locomotives manufactured since January 1, 2005.
Union Pacific has also begun a year-long field test in Oakland of the North America rail industry’s first experimental after-market exhaust system filter to determine if it will reduce diesel engine emissions in older locomotives used in rail yards.
Union Pacific’s "Green" Fleet
Currently, about 50 percent of Union Pacific’s more than 8,500-unit locomotive fleet is certified under existing EPA Tier 0, Tier 1 or Tier 2 regulations governing air emissions. That gives Union Pacific the most environmentally friendly locomotive fleet in the nation.
Union Pacific has tested, and is acquiring, two types of environmentally friendly low-horsepower rail yard locomotives:
- The Genset locomotive is powered by three 700-horsepower low-emissions EPA non-road Tier 3-certified diesel engines projected to reduce emissions of both nitrous oxides and particulate matter by up to 80 percent, while using as much as 16 percent less fuel compared to current low-horsepower locomotives.
- The Green Goat uses state-of-the-art diesel-battery hybrid-technology designed to cut air emissions by 80 percent and reduce diesel fuel use by 16 percent compared to conventional diesel-powered locomotives used in switching service. The hybrid switcher is powered with large banks of batteries. When energy stored in the batteries is depleted to a pre-set level, a small, low-emission diesel engine automatically starts to power a generator that recharges the batteries.
It is anticipated that these switching locomotives will receive California Air Resources Board (CARB) recognition as Ultra-Low Emitting Locomotives (ULEL), in addition to exceeding the EPA’s stringent Locomotive Tier 2 standards. These ULELs are a direct result of Union Pacific’s efforts to encourage development of ever-cleaner technology by its locomotive suppliers. The ultra-low emissions of these locomotives will help Union Pacific meet its commitment to CARB to reduce its fleet average nitrous oxide emissions inside the South Coast Nonattainment Area by 2010.
CARB Memorandum of Understanding
In addition to the emission reductions that the Tier 0, 1 and 2, Genset and Green Goat locomotives will achieve, a June 30, 2005, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among CARB, Union Pacific and BNSF Railway will further reduce diesel emissions in and around the state’s rail yards. The important agreement calls for reductions that will be greater and quicker than any that could have resulted from regulatory processes.
This was the second significant agreement of this type. The first one was signed in 1998 and covered nitrous oxide emissions (NOx) from locomotives. Under the first agreement, NOx levels from locomotives will be reduced by 67 percent in the South Coast Nonattainment Area. The June 2005 agreement represents the next logical step in the process and will reduce particulate matter emissions statewide.
CARB has estimated the MOU will reduce particulate emissions by approximately 20 percent at rail yards by June 2008 when all the program’s elements are phased in. Union Pacific expects to spend more than $20 million implementing the program.
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 more information, contact Mark Davis at (402) 544-5459.
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