Westport Innovations, Canada, a global manufacturer of alternative-fuel low-emissions transportation technologies, has delivered the first of four liquefied natural gas (LNG) tenders ordered by Canadian National Railway (CN), to Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) in the U.S., which is developing a pilot low-pressure dual-fuel locomotive for the Class I railroad.
For the project, EMD is carrying out a dual-fuel retrofit SD70ACe and SD70M-2 3.2MW locomotives, which meet US EPA Tier III emission standards, and will utilise parent company Caterpillar’s Dynamic Gas Blending technology.
A 45,500 litre (12,000+ gallons) ISO LNG tank, 12.2m long and fitted to a 48ft intermodal well wagon, will hold the LNG which will be vaporised in the tender, avoiding the need for the cryogenic liquid to be carried across a coupler. The large tank size provides for an extended operations range, reducing the need for LNG refueling infrastructure and fueling stops.
The ISO LNG tender can fuel either a single or dual locomotive formation and offer comparable power ratings and range to diesel-powered locomotives. Brian Dracup, Westport’s senior director of rail, says this LNG project will have a 60-to-80 percent LNG use rate, with the option to revert to 100% diesel if required. Adopting LNG could offer Class I’s railroads a 30-to-50 percent fuel savings per locomotive, or roughly $250,000 to $450,00 per year, based on average annual fuel consumption of 1.14 million gallons.
Illinois-based EMD, acquired by Progress Rail in 2010, is expected to carry out stationary testing of the LNG-powered locomotive during the next few months ahead of CN’s pilot line testing program, which is due to begin this summer. The three remaining tenders will be delivered to EMD by Westport mid-2014.
The low-pressure project is a companion project to the application of Westport’s high-pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology to a SD70M-2 locomotive, which is supported by the Sustainable Development Technology Canada, a Canadian government-backed initiative which aims to commercialise emerging clean technologies. This scheme is again being developed in partnership with EMD and CN along with Gaz Métro Transport Metro Solutions (GMTS) and aims to provide a 95% LNG : 5% diesel fuel ratio.