Union Pacific Railroad investing $20M to test emissions-reducing locomotive technology in California; moving toward Tier 4 compliance with combination of EGR, DOC and DPF
Union Pacific Railroad is investing $20 million to test new technology designed to reduce diesel emissions from freight locomotives in California. A series of 25 experimental locomotives will be based in two Union Pacific rail yards in California as part of a test of emissions-reducing technologies.
One locomotive in this series of 25 will be based in Roseville to test the combined use of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), and diesel particulate filtering (DPF). In testing the combined benefits of these three technologies on one freight locomotive, this Union Pacific unit is the closest an Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) locomotive has come to achieving US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 locomotive standards.
This move toward Tier 4 is made up of a 45% reduction in NOx emissions compared to the current Tier 2 standard and an 85% reduction in particulate matter emissions based on preliminary analysis. Union Pacific and the California Air Resources Board will jointly analyze the emissions reductions capability of this locomotive over the next 18 months.
In March 2008, EPA finalized a three part program significantly to reduce emissions from diesel locomotives of all types: line-haul, switch, and passenger rail. (Earlier post.) The rule established long-term, Tier 4 standards for newly-built engines based on the application of high-efficiency catalytic aftertreatment technology, beginning in 2015. The final rule will cut PM emissions from these engines by as much as 90% and NOx emissions by as much as 80% when fully implemented. The proposed standards would also yield sizeable reductions in emissions of HC, CO, and other air toxics.
These standards are enabled by the availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel with sulfur content capped at 15 parts per million (ppm), which will be available by 2012.
In 2008, EPA estimated the social cost of the new program (rail and marine) will be approximately $740 million in 2030. EPA expects the impact of these costs on society are expected to be minimal, with the prices of rail and marine transportation services in 2030 estimated to increase by about 0.6% for locomotive transportation services.
Union Pacific’s $20-million investment marks its latest effort to further reduce emissions and move closer to the Tier 4 requirements. All of the experimental locomotives are intermediate line-haul units, with an operating range of approximately 200 miles (322 km), and will be used exclusively in California.
Nine of the experimental units to be fitted with EGR technology are based in the Colton, Calif., area and will be tested through operations in the southern California region.
The remaining 15 experimental units will work out of Roseville for operations in northern California. These locomotives have the capability to be retrofitted with EGR and other emissions reduction technologies as testing progresses. The Proposition 1B – Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program is partially funding this set of locomotives.
Testing on all 25 locomotives is scheduled to last through 2014.
In partnering with EMD to develop these experimental locomotives, Union Pacific continues working to upgrade and improve the fuel-efficiency of its locomotive fleet. Union Pacific says it has invested approximately $6.56 billion since 2000 to purchase locomotives that meet the EPA’s updated emissions guidelines and an additional $200 million to upgrade older locomotives in the fleet to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency—representing nearly 3,800 new, more fuel-efficient locomotives in all.
These purchases allow Union Pacific to retire older, less-efficient locomotives, thus improving overall fleet fuel economy and reducing Union Pacific’s emissions rate.