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Railroad and Locomotive Technology Roadmap (USA) (December 2002)


Author(s) Stodolsky F, Gaines L
Abstract 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 countrys 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 government 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. Industrys expertise and in-kind contributions, coupled with federal funding and the resources of the DOEs national laboratories, could make for an efficient, effective program with measurable energy efficiency targets and realistic deployment schedules. 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 DOEs 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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Year 2002
Status Archived
Timescale No Data Supplied
Geographic Coverage No Data Supplied
Funder No Data Supplied
Methods Desk research and workshops
Stakeholder No Data Supplied
Document Structure No Data Supplied
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