June 17, 2005
Peru Puts First CNG-Powered Locomotive into Service
Reuters. Peru’s Ferrocarril Central Andino (FCCA) officially unveiled what it calls the world’s first CNG-powered train on Thursday.
The cargo and passenger train, which runs along the world’s highest railway at 16,076 feet (4,900 meters) above sea level in Peru’s central Andes, will switch from diesel to run on two CNG engines designed by General Electric.
Ferrocarril Central Andino, 82% owned by Peruvian capital and 18% owned by US-based Railroad Development Corp. (RDC), has operated the line between Lima and the central Huancayo region since 1999. The company says it plans to convert all eight engines in its fleet to CNG from diesel in the next seven months.
The engines, which had been under test for some time and as described in Latin Tracks in 2004 are dual-fuel capable, with diesel as a backup for certain sections when the trains are working upgrade. A slug unit will carry the CNG tanks.
According to the EIA, Peru has proven natural gas reserves of 8.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), the fourth-largest amount in South America. The giant Camisea gasfield started production in August 2004, and Peru hopes to become a net energy exporter with gas sales to mexico form 2009.
GE, as part of its ecomagination campaign (earlier post), is working on a number of rail enhancements, including a diesel-electric hybrid locomotive.
(A hat-tip to Joe K.!)
June 12, 2005
Toyota Developing Flex-Fuel Cars
Nikkei. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Toyota is developing flex-fuel cars, targeted at the Latin American market.
Toyota hopes to market new flex fuel vehicles in the second half of next year at the earliest because Latin America, where new car sales are rising sharply, is one of the priority markets for the carmaker.
Flex-fuel vehicles run either on gasoline or ethanol. In Brazil, flex fuel sales are booming.
All foreign carmakers operating in Brazil, except for Toyota and Honda, are already marketing flex-fuel cars. Toyota now sees promise in this car category, as increased numbers of such vehicles are also selling in China and India.
Toyota sold 260,000 new cars in Latin America last year, 50,000 of those in Brazil.