Measurement and Evaluation of Fuels and Technologies for Passenger Rail Service in North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Rail Division operates passenger train service between Raleigh and Charlotte, with plans to add more frequency. The Rail Division also plans to evaluate use of B20 biodiesel as an alternative to petroleum diesel for the diesel-electric locomotives in its fleet. NCDOT plans to have the prime mover engines of all three of its locomotives, NC 1755 and NC 1797 (F59s) and NC 1792 (GP40), rebuilt to conform to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tier 0 emission standards. For the two F59s, the existing head-end power (HEP) engines will be replaced with new engines that are Tier 2 compliant. The newer HEP engine on the GP40 is not economical to replace at this time. The Rail Division has the following research needs: (1) measure a new baseline for fuel use and emission rates on the rebuilt or replaced engines on each locomotive, using ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel; (2) measure the fuel use and emission rates after switching from ULSD to B20 biodiesel; (3) measure real-world in-use "over-the-rails" activity, fuel use, and emissions for service between Raleigh and Charlotte; (4) assess the avoided fuel use and emissions from substitution of automobile trips with rail service based on real-world data obtained in this research for the train service and real-world highway vehicle data obtained by the North Carolina State University (NCSU) in recent previous research; (5) conduct a complete evaluation of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions implications of B20 versus ULSD using a life cycle inventory approach that takes into account the fuel cycle as well as locomotive emissions; and (6) evaluate emerging alternative technologies for locomotives, such as hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines (ICEs) and fuel cells (FCs). NCSU has recently completed several technical assistance projects for the NCDOT Rail Division that form a foundation for this proposed work. These include an assessment of locomotive emission standards and technological alternatives for compliance with the standards, and railyard measurements (prior to the scheduled rebuilds and replacements) of the fuel use and emission rates of the prime mover and HEP engines on ULSD for each of the three locomotives using a Portable Emission Measurement System (PEMS). These measurements established emission rates for nitric oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO), CO2, hydrocarbons (HC), and particulate matter (PM) on both a mass per time (g/sec) and mass per fuel consumed (g/gallon) basis. This project will include the following tasks: (1) railyard measurement of fuel use and emission rates on the rebuilt or replaced engines on each locomotive, using ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel and B20; (2) measurement real-world in-use "over-the-rails" activity, fuel use, and emissions for service between Raleigh and Charlotte; (3) assessment of the avoided fuel use and emissions from substitution of rail service for highway vehicle trips; (4) evaluation of the energy use and emissions implications of B20 versus ULSD using a life cycle inventory approach; and (5) evaluation of emerging alternative technologies for locomotives, such as hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines (ICEs) and fuel cells (FCs). The results of this project will enable the Rail Division to accurately assess the fuel use and emissions benefits of the engine rebuilds and replacements, the use of alternative fuel, and of passenger rail service compared to the avoided highway vehicle usage. These data can be used to identify priorities for further emission reductions measures, if needed, and to claim credit for the energy and environmental benefits of rail transportation. Furthermore, this project will develop recommendations regarding the feasibility of alternative technologies, such as hydrogen fueled locomotives. These data and information will be useful to the Rail Division as the basis for determining the energy and emissions benefits of B20 and of rail versus highway transportation and, thus, as an input to prioritizing future activity pertaining to asset management and community relations.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $199968.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    2010-12

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    Research and Development
    1549 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27699-1549
  • Project Managers:

    Kirby, John

  • Performing Organizations:

    North Carolina State University, Raleigh

    Department of Civil Engineering, Campus Box 7908
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27695-7908
  • Principal Investigators:

    Frey, H

  • Start Date: 20090816
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20110815
  • Source Data: RiP Project 28932

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01482610
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 2010-12
  • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: May 30 2013 1:00AM