Union Pacific Testing Railroad Industry’s First Exhaust Catalyst in Los Angeles
17 January 2007
|Catalyst panels are housed in the V-shaped cradle running the length of the manifold. Also see diagram below. Click to enlarge.|
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 aftermarket experimental technology aimed at reducing exhaust emissions.
An experimental oxidation catalyst filtering canister (oxicat) manufactured by MIRATECH was installed inside the exhaust manifold of the 1992 SD60M locomotive’s 3,800 hp diesel engine. The 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 cars and trucks.
|Click to enlarge.|
The diesel engine has been outfitted with various sensors that can be remotely monitored with Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology. Remote realtime motoring 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 locomotive was subjected to EPA locomotive standards testing before and after the installation of the oxicat using both standard EPA locomotive certification fuel and ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel that UP is now using for intrastate locomotives in California.
Static test results were:
Using ULSD fuel without the oxidation catalyst installed dropped particulate emissions by about 4% compared to the use of standard EPA diesel fuel.
Using ULSD fuel with the oxidation catalyst installed reduced particulate emissions by approximately 50%, unburned hydrocarbons by 38% and carbon monoxide by 82%.
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. (Earlier post.)
The National Vehicle Fuels and Emissions Laboratory (NVFEL) of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is funding most of the oxidation catalyst test.
Currently, about 50% of Union Pacific’s more than 8,200-unit locomotive fleet is certified under existing EPA Tier 0, Tier 1 or Tier 2 regulations governing air emissions. Union Pacific has tested, and is acquiring, two types of more environmentally friendly low-horsepower rail yard locomotives from Railpower:
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% and reduce diesel fuel use by 16% 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.
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