The Billings Gazette reports that the head of BNSF Railway Co. has sent an engineering team to Montana to analyze a possible coal-to-liquids project.
In September 2006, BNSF and Tenaska, an independent energy developer, announced they were conducting a joint feasibility study including the exploration of multiple locations for the siting of commercial-scale, Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-liquids (CTL) facilities to produce an assured supply of cleaner diesel fuel at stable prices. BNSF’s 6,300 locomotives burned 1.4 billion gallons of diesel in 2005.
As part of the project analysis, BNSF signed an agreement with Syntroleum Corporation to purchase quantities of Fischer-Tropsch diesel fuel to test its suitability for use in locomotives with more than 3,000 horsepower.
BNSF remains interested in at least a study in Montana, according to the paper.
“"We are still studying the economic and technical feasibility of the technology,” [BNSF spokesman Pat Hiatte] said. “Montana locations, along with other locations, are being considered.”
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is aggressively pursuing prospects for developing CTL technology in the state.