Railroad and locomotive technology roadmap.

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Railroads are important to the U.S. economy. They transport freight efficiently, requiring less energy and emitting fewer pollutants than other modes of surface transportation. While the railroad industry has steadily improved its fuel efficiency--by 16% over the last decade--more can, and needs to, be done. The ability of locomotive manufacturers to conduct research into fuel efficiency and emissions reduction is limited by the small number of locomotives manufactured annually. Each year for the last five years, the two North American locomotive manufacturers--General Electric Transportation Systems and the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors--have together sold about 800 locomotives in the United ... continued below

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Stodolsky, F.; Gaines, L. & Systems, Energy February 24, 2003.

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Railroads are important to the U.S. economy. They transport freight efficiently, requiring less energy and emitting fewer pollutants than other modes of surface transportation. While the railroad industry has steadily improved its fuel efficiency--by 16% over the last decade--more can, and needs to, be done. The ability of locomotive manufacturers to conduct research into fuel efficiency and emissions reduction is limited by the small number of locomotives manufactured annually. Each year for the last five years, the two North American locomotive manufacturers--General Electric Transportation Systems and the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors--have together sold about 800 locomotives in the United States. With such a small number of units over which research costs can be spread, outside help is needed to investigate all possible ways to reduce fuel usage and emissions. Because fuel costs represent a significant portion of the total operating costs of a railroad, fuel efficiency has always been an important factor in the design of locomotives and in the operations of a railroad. However, fuel efficiency has recently become even more critical with the introduction of strict emission standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to be implemented in stages (Tiers 0, 1, and 2) between 2000 and 2005. Some of the technologies that could be employed to meet the emission standards may negatively affect fuel economy--by as much as 10-15% when emissions are reduced to Tier 1 levels. Lowering fuel economy by that magnitude would have a serious impact on the cost to the consumer of goods shipped by rail, on the competitiveness of the railroad industry, and on this country's dependence on foreign oil. Clearly, a joint government/industry R&D program is needed to help catalyze the development of advanced technologies that will substantially reduce locomotive engine emissions while also improving train system energy efficiency. DOE convened an industry-government workshop in January 2001 to gauge industry interest. As a result, the railroads, their suppliers, and the federal government5 have embarked on a cooperative effort to further improve railroad fuel efficiency--by 25% between now and 2010 and by 50% by 2020, on an equivalent gallon per revenue ton-mile basis, while meeting emission standards, all in a cost-effective, safe manner. This effort aims to bring the collaborative approaches of other joint industry-government efforts, such as FreedomCAR and the 21st Century Truck partnership, to the problem of increasing rail fuel efficiency. Under these other programs, DOE's Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies has supported research on technologies to reduce fuel use and air emissions by light- and heavy-duty vehicles. DOE plans to bring similar efforts to bear on improving locomotives. The Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration will also be a major participant in this new effort, primarily by supporting research on railroad safety. Like FreedomCAR and the 21st Century Truck program, a joint industry-government research effort devoted to locomotives and railroad technology could be a 'win' for the public and a 'win' for industry. Industry's expertise and in-kind contributions, coupled with federal funding and the resources of the DOE's national laboratories, could make for an efficient, effective program with measurable energy efficiency targets and realistic deployment schedules. This document provides the necessary background for developing such a program. Potential R&D pathways to greatly improve the efficiency of freight transportation by rail, while meeting future emission standards in a cost-effective, safe manner, were developed jointly by an industry-government team as a result of DOE's January 2001 Workshop on Locomotive Emissions and System Efficiency and are presented here. The status of technology, technical targets, barriers, and technical approaches for engine, locomotive, rail systems, and advanced power plants and fuels are presented.

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  • Report No.: ANL/ESD/02-6
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-06CH11357
  • DOI: 10.2172/925067 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 925067
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc896299

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  • February 24, 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 28, 2016, 6:10 p.m.

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Stodolsky, F.; Gaines, L. & Systems, Energy. Railroad and locomotive technology roadmap., report, February 24, 2003; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc896299/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.