turbguy

And now, hybrid electric locomotives...

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removed double post :( 

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5 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

removed double post :( 

Eric, what are the problems with battery electric that you have alluded to?

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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10 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

Eric, what are the problems with battery electric that you have alluded to?

The obvious ones - range, lack of charging infrastructure, unprepared mechanical repair and spare parts networks, new training required for operators, increased capex, a narrow market with limited resale potential for current end users, an uncertain life and capacity availability for the batteries.  there are probably more, but those are the ones I thought of off the top of my head.  At no point did I say, or intend to mean that these were insurmountable problems, only that they are real ones.  Weight on the other hand is not a real one, or even potentially one.  

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19 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

Eric, what are the problems with battery electric that you have alluded to?

Lithium Mining Projects May Not Be Green Friendly - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Nevada lithium mine kicks off a new era of Western extraction (The next mining boom?) — High Country News – Know the West (hcn.org)

I can add more on lithium mining and how it is horrendous on the Mother Earth, more than Fracking by far. 

As for California and pollution issues, diesel trains are the least of the issues. Millions of cars and ppl seem more the issue.

Edited by Old-Ruffneck
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15 minutes ago, Old-Ruffneck said:

Lithium Mining Projects May Not Be Green Friendly - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

I can add more on lithium mining and how it is horrendous on the Mother Earth, more than Fracking by far. 

As for California and pollution issues, diesel trains are the least of the issues. Millions of cars and ppl seem more the issue.

Batteries for transport will require massive increases in lithium mining for sure, but also nickel, and copper and to varying degrees manganese and cobalt.  Even relatively modest increases in battery electric vehicles will increase demand dramatically, and it’s going to happen.  I have put money where my mouth is and invested in mining companies in these sectors.  Owners of mines currently in production or in the late phases of construction will have a license to print money over the next few years as supply will struggle to meet demand.  
 

As for CA pollution, I grew up in the Los Angeles area - i know all about it!  I agree that locomotives aren’t a major factor, but they are an easy one to fix, because the technology to do it at a reasonable price without excessive disruption to existing business practices is mature.  

Edited by Eric Gagen
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Creating batteries, charging batteries and disposing batteries will always be more detrimental to the earth than oil, everyone just face it. 

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14 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

Batteries for transport will require massive increases in lithium mining for sure, but also nickel, and copper and to varying degrees manganese and cobalt.  Even relatively modest increases in battery electric vehicles will increase demand dramatically, and it’s going to happen.  I have put money where my mouth is and invested in mining companies in these sectors.  Owners of mines currently in production or in the late phases of construction will have a license to print money over the next few years as supply will struggle to meet demand.  
 

As for CA pollution, I grew up in the Los Angeles area - i know all about it!  I agree that locomotives aren’t a major factor, but they are an easy one to fix, because the technology to do it at a reasonable price without excessive disruption to existing business practices is mature.  

Natural gas locomotives make the most sense IMHO. They can also be hybrid and have brakes generate electricity. 

https://cngmotive.com/

CNG Replaces Diesel Fuel in Locomotives

Introduction to the Industry

Major railroads in North America collectively burn approximately 5 BILLION gallons of diesel fuel annually principally for use in freight service diesel-electric locomotives. Railroads are classified by revenue and the largest are Class 1. CNGmotive’s commercial offers addresses the cost of railroading in North American at the apex of the challenge. The largest two cost factors routinely reported by Class 1 railroads are labor/HR cost and fuel cost. The price of oil at times has made fuel the #1 cost for railroads, reaching >20% of revenue in some instances.

Railroads have few commercial advantages in addition to cost of transport to the shipper. They very seldom are more timely, more reliable or more flexible than competitive modes of freight movement, such as highway trucks. This is most clearly revealed in the most competitive segment of traffic, standardized intermodal freight containers. The container is interoperable across truck and rail shipment. The competition to win intermodal business centers primarily on cost. Most shipping is done by third party logistics entities who guarantee to the ultimate customer (FEDEX, UPS, etc.) timely and reliable delivery for a fixed price. If the underlying mode of shipment is compromised, the freight container business can be diverted onto trucking very quickly. Very often the penalties for failure are extremely steep, loss of the business being a major one. To make money in intermodal operation and other segments of railroading, cost and reliability are paramount and thus low fuel cost is essential.

Significant attention is being paid to natural gas in North America as there are abundant supplies at very low cost in the short and long term. The conventional wisdom is that LNG is the only alternative for heavy duty users such as railroads and as such LNG pilot programs began a few years ago. CNGmotive has the ability to deliver compressed natural gas (CNG) with fill time and capacity performance of its LNG competitors, at a fraction of the cost.

CNG for Locomotives
 

s expensive than diesel for CNG loaded on rail tender in the last 5yrs

200

there is greater than 200 yrs of low cost natural gas supply in the US.

41%

lower price in the last 5 years as compared to the previous 5yrs

12

It takes less than 12 days to drill a natural gas well.

CNG for Locomotives

LNG for Locomotives

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(edited)

14 hours ago, Old-Ruffneck said:

@Jay McKinsey

Lithium Mining: The Hidden Environmental Cost of EVs – Streetsblog USA

Your Green Lithium batteries are fine as long as not in your back yard. The Mining is extremely destructive.

Most lithium mining is not so destructive. That mine doesn't even sound viable cost wise. But alas there is always a cost. There are those on the left who don't want growth and they are against renewable energy almost as much as fossil fuels. 

But regarding pollution one has to account for all that fossil produces which is not just from the oil spills and coal mining but to the burning of all that material. Something I know you guys can't get your heads around is that Lithium is not a consumable. Once mined it never needs to be mined again, just extracted from the old batteries and reused. Fossil fuels require never ending new production in new places to despoil. 

The stench permeated Dyline Thomas' St. Croix home for weeks, she said, upsetting her stomach, making her nose run and her throat sore.

"The smell was so strong, like sulfur, like rotten eggs," the 58-year-old homemaker recalled.
Then oil was discovered in her yard in mid-May. Two days earlier, a flare incident occurred at the Limetree Bay refinery upwind of Thomas's home. As flames and smoke billowed out of the flare stack, oil droplets were launched into the sky, carried west by the wind and rained down on nearby homes.
This month the US Environmental Protection Agency took a rare and extreme step: It ordered an emergency, 60-day shutdown of the plant, citing an "imminent risk" to public health. The agency, which has jurisdiction over territories such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, reported several incidents that released oil into the environment and sent sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide into the air, both of which cause respiratory illness.
Edited by Jay McKinsey

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6 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Natural gas locomotives make the most sense IMHO. They can also be hybrid and have brakes generate electricity. 

https://cngmotive.com/

CNG Replaces Diesel Fuel in Locomotives

Introduction to the Industry

Major railroads in North America collectively burn approximately 5 BILLION gallons of diesel fuel annually principally for use in freight service diesel-electric locomotives. Railroads are classified by revenue and the largest are Class 1. CNGmotive’s commercial offers addresses the cost of railroading in North American at the apex of the challenge. The largest two cost factors routinely reported by Class 1 railroads are labor/HR cost and fuel cost. The price of oil at times has made fuel the #1 cost for railroads, reaching >20% of revenue in some instances.

Railroads have few commercial advantages in addition to cost of transport to the shipper. They very seldom are more timely, more reliable or more flexible than competitive modes of freight movement, such as highway trucks. This is most clearly revealed in the most competitive segment of traffic, standardized intermodal freight containers. The container is interoperable across truck and rail shipment. The competition to win intermodal business centers primarily on cost. Most shipping is done by third party logistics entities who guarantee to the ultimate customer (FEDEX, UPS, etc.) timely and reliable delivery for a fixed price. If the underlying mode of shipment is compromised, the freight container business can be diverted onto trucking very quickly. Very often the penalties for failure are extremely steep, loss of the business being a major one. To make money in intermodal operation and other segments of railroading, cost and reliability are paramount and thus low fuel cost is essential.

Significant attention is being paid to natural gas in North America as there are abundant supplies at very low cost in the short and long term. The conventional wisdom is that LNG is the only alternative for heavy duty users such as railroads and as such LNG pilot programs began a few years ago. CNGmotive has the ability to deliver compressed natural gas (CNG) with fill time and capacity performance of its LNG competitors, at a fraction of the cost.

CNG for Locomotives
 

s expensive than diesel for CNG loaded on rail tender in the last 5yrs

200

there is greater than 200 yrs of low cost natural gas supply in the US.

41%

lower price in the last 5 years as compared to the previous 5yrs

12

It takes less than 12 days to drill a natural gas well.

CNG for Locomotives

LNG for Locomotives

Ron - I have a friend of mine who works for the locomotive maintenance division of Caterpillar.  He (and Caterpillar) fully expect that the current generation of fossil fuel locomotives will be the last one.  They are expected to be replaced by electric, and battery electric locomotives as they phase out of service over the next 20-30 years.  The era of fuel powered railroads is ending because it's just not worth it.  The reason has nothing to do with CO2 emissions, and everything to do with maintenance and operating costs.  Keeping a big fleet of electric and battery electric locomotives running is cheaper for the rail companies than it is for locomotives with ICE engines.  With battery electrics, the cost of electrifying track is brought down dramatically, because instead of having a full catenary system or whatever to electrify every inch of track they only need to have intermittent charging regions and/or charging stations.  Electric and battery electric locomotives have a lot fewer moving parts, much longer runs between a need for maintenance, and higher 'uptime' availability.  

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7 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Wonderful photography, thanks! I wonder why Wyoming has such a small population? Too cold?

Those are all summer pictures - now do winter pictures and you will get the 'other' side of the coin.  They are still pretty, but not as pleasant to be in. 

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25 minutes ago, Eric Gagen said:

Ron - I have a friend of mine who works for the locomotive maintenance division of Caterpillar.  He (and Caterpillar) fully expect that the current generation of fossil fuel locomotives will be the last one.  They are expected to be replaced by electric, and battery electric locomotives as they phase out of service over the next 20-30 years.  The era of fuel powered railroads is ending because it's just not worth it.  The reason has nothing to do with CO2 emissions, and everything to do with maintenance and operating costs.  Keeping a big fleet of electric and battery electric locomotives running is cheaper for the rail companies than it is for locomotives with ICE engines.  With battery electrics, the cost of electrifying track is brought down dramatically, because instead of having a full catenary system or whatever to electrify every inch of track they only need to have intermittent charging regions and/or charging stations.  Electric and battery electric locomotives have a lot fewer moving parts, much longer runs between a need for maintenance, and higher 'uptime' availability.  

Looking at that CNG locomotive setup I just kept thinking "what a maintenance nightmare".

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Just now, Jay McKinsey said:

Looking at that CNG locomotive setup I just kept thinking "what a maintenance nightmare".

It's probably not any worse than a 'normal' diesel engine, and possibly a little better.  Many years ago I did some work for a guy looking to use CNG barges to transport gas to small Caribbean islands for use in electric power stations which were too small to accept LNG tanker loads.  Basically the 'tender' on these CNG locomotives is just a bunch of tubes that are filled with high pressure natural gas, which is bled off through a regulator to provide fuel for the engine as needed.  As long as the pressure isn't enormous, the tubes last functionally forever, and it's 'just' another kind of fuel tank for an otherwise standard diesel locomotive which has had it's fuel injectors reprogrammed, and it's emissions controls chip swapped out for one tuned for the C/H ratio of natural gas instead of #2 diesel oil.  I am sure someone will pursue it - after all, my friend at Caterpillar may be wrong about the future of fossil fuel locomotives.  

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10 minutes ago, Eric Gagen said:

It's probably not any worse than a 'normal' diesel engine, and possibly a little better.  Many years ago I did some work for a guy looking to use CNG barges to transport gas to small Caribbean islands for use in electric power stations which were too small to accept LNG tanker loads.  Basically the 'tender' on these CNG locomotives is just a bunch of tubes that are filled with high pressure natural gas, which is bled off through a regulator to provide fuel for the engine as needed.  As long as the pressure isn't enormous, the tubes last functionally forever, and it's 'just' another kind of fuel tank for an otherwise standard diesel locomotive which has had it's fuel injectors reprogrammed, and it's emissions controls chip swapped out for one tuned for the C/H ratio of natural gas instead of #2 diesel oil.  I am sure someone will pursue it - after all, my friend at Caterpillar may be wrong about the future of fossil fuel locomotives.  

I'll take your word for it :)

CNGMotive-Web-Internals-1-768x1024.jpg

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The CNGMotive tender carries multiple CNG cylinders that hold methane gas at a high supply pressure in order to carry the required amount of fuel to operate the locomotives, which will be configured back-to-back with the tender in the middle, between re-fueling operations. When the locomotives’ prime-movers are started and the throttles are placed in Notches 3 through 8, the high-pressure CNG is lowered by the tender’s PRS (pressure reduction system) to 100 psi at 40 to 70 degrees F before it crosses the fuel coupling over to the locomotives. When this low-pressure CNG is injected into the combustion chamber, a very small amount of “pilot” diesel fuel is simultaneously injected to compression-ignite it. As the locomotive consist increases in speed and horsepower, the amount of gas injected rises accordingly.

The BNSF locomotives to be used in the test program require no changes from their prior LNG configuration. As such, “they are agnostic to the fuel,” Trillanes explains. “They can burn CNG or LNG. The pressure and temperature at the fuel coupler is the same, as well as the 21-pin electrical connectors for the control system.”

BNSF-9130_9131-1024x244.jpg BNSF EMD locomotives 9130 and 9131, seen here in LNG test service at TTCI, will be loaned to Norfolk Southern for the CNGMotive test program. BNSF photo.

Refueling of the locomotive/tender set, accomplished with Chill Fill® technology, is much faster than that of LNG. “There is multiyear successful application of the Chill Fill® technology in the oilfield and industrial virtual pipeline markets, and CNGMotive is the sole licensee of this intellectual property for locomotive fueling applications,” the company notes. “Our proprietary technology allows us to refill very large storage vessels in a 40-minute fill time and a less-than-one-hour total fill cycle.”

In terms of safety, CNGMotive says it has followed 49 CFR 229 Subpart E, which applies to the regulation of locomotive electronics, in conducting and completing the tender’s safety analysis. The company has also complied with AAR M-1004 “Interoperable Fuel Tenders for Locomotives” specifications for crashworthiness, shock and vibration. The CNG specifications for M-1004, originally developed for LNG fuel tenders, are “ready for release,” according to Mark Duve.

“The CNG tender and locomotives have safety systems that, in case of a leak, enable them to shut down immediately,” NS points out. “If a leak occurs, the methane gas will immediately vent off and move vertically into the atmosphere, due to this gas being lighter than air. It will not collect in low-lying pockets and present a safety hazard like other gases such as propane. Every safety component that has been installed for this application, as well as extensive FEA (Finite Element Analysis) and physical testing of the tender structure, is a vital component of the CNG fuel tender.”

NS says that it “is committed to investing in the training of first-responders along our test route on responding to accidents involving CNG.” The railroad will be employing its Operation Awareness and Response Safety Train to help educate first-responders, the general public and surrounding communities about the use of CNG as a fuel source. NS will also be educating these groups on the safety precautions that have been incorporated “to prevent any possible personal hazard.”

NS adds that it is “working diligently with the FRA to address all safety issues that might arise during this preliminary test operation. Regulations can be expected to be developed to insure that the safety of CNG as a railroad fuel is not compromised.” NS has requested an FRA letter of concurrence for test approval.

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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8 minutes ago, Jay McKinsey said:

I'll take your word for it :)

CNGMotive-Web-Internals-1-768x1024.jpg

CNGMotive-Web-Internals-2-768x1024.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-3-1024x768.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-4-1024x576.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-5-1024x768.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-6-1024x768.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-7-768x1024.jpg
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CNGMotive-Web-Internals-13-768x1024.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-14-768x1024.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-10-768x1024.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-11-1024x576.jpg

The CNGMotive tender carries multiple CNG cylinders that hold methane gas at a high supply pressure in order to carry the required amount of fuel to operate the locomotives, which will be configured back-to-back with the tender in the middle, between re-fueling operations. When the locomotives’ prime-movers are started and the throttles are placed in Notches 3 through 8, the high-pressure CNG is lowered by the tender’s PRS (pressure reduction system) to 100 psi at 40 to 70 degrees F before it crosses the fuel coupling over to the locomotives. When this low-pressure CNG is injected into the combustion chamber, a very small amount of “pilot” diesel fuel is simultaneously injected to compression-ignite it. As the locomotive consist increases in speed and horsepower, the amount of gas injected rises accordingly.

The BNSF locomotives to be used in the test program require no changes from their prior LNG configuration. As such, “they are agnostic to the fuel,” Trillanes explains. “They can burn CNG or LNG. The pressure and temperature at the fuel coupler is the same, as well as the 21-pin electrical connectors for the control system.”

BNSF-9130_9131-1024x244.jpg BNSF EMD locomotives 9130 and 9131, seen here in LNG test service at TTCI, will be loaned to Norfolk Southern for the CNGMotive test program. BNSF photo.

Refueling of the locomotive/tender set, accomplished with Chill Fill® technology, is much faster than that of LNG. “There is multiyear successful application of the Chill Fill® technology in the oilfield and industrial virtual pipeline markets, and CNGMotive is the sole licensee of this intellectual property for locomotive fueling applications,” the company notes. “Our proprietary technology allows us to refill very large storage vessels in a 40-minute fill time and a less-than-one-hour total fill cycle.”

In terms of safety, CNGMotive says it has followed 49 CFR 229 Subpart E, which applies to the regulation of locomotive electronics, in conducting and completing the tender’s safety analysis. The company has also complied with AAR M-1004 “Interoperable Fuel Tenders for Locomotives” specifications for crashworthiness, shock and vibration. The CNG specifications for M-1004, originally developed for LNG fuel tenders, are “ready for release,” according to Mark Duve.

“The CNG tender and locomotives have safety systems that, in case of a leak, enable them to shut down immediately,” NS points out. “If a leak occurs, the methane gas will immediately vent off and move vertically into the atmosphere, due to this gas being lighter than air. It will not collect in low-lying pockets and present a safety hazard like other gases such as propane. Every safety component that has been installed for this application, as well as extensive FEA (Finite Element Analysis) and physical testing of the tender structure, is a vital component of the CNG fuel tender.”

NS says that it “is committed to investing in the training of first-responders along our test route on responding to accidents involving CNG.” The railroad will be employing its Operation Awareness and Response Safety Train to help educate first-responders, the general public and surrounding communities about the use of CNG as a fuel source. NS will also be educating these groups on the safety precautions that have been incorporated “to prevent any possible personal hazard.”

NS adds that it is “working diligently with the FRA to address all safety issues that might arise during this preliminary test operation. Regulations can be expected to be developed to insure that the safety of CNG as a railroad fuel is not compromised.” NS has requested an FRA letter of concurrence for test approval.

I could run through the photo list and tell you what most of the items are.  They are definitely high 'front end' cost because the autoclave parts, and piping are all made fit for cryogenic and hydrogen exposure (they could have gone with cheaper fittings at the expense of carried fuel pressure and volume, but they went 1st class all the way) but they aren't very bad for maintenance.  Apart from the usual 'check for leaks and corrosion' on a regular basis, they call for a teardown once every 3-5 years to check for internal issues, change seals, and gaskets, etc.  and the parts themselves will last 10-15 years between inspections with a lifetime of 30-40 years in service.  Most of what you see in those pictures is static equipment with no moving parts, so the service intervals for that stuff is really long (usually they get gone through with the moving parts though as a practical matter) A solid chunk of the photos are 'generic railcar' items which will exist on any car.  Railroads are mechanically complex beasts.  

Important to note is that people have this impression that a diesel fuel tank is 'just' a tank, but in fact it's got quite a few potential points of failure itself.  By reducing or eliminating the need for reliance on diesel tankage, you are reducing some complexity in exchange for what you are adding with the CNG infrastructure.  

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(edited)

2 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

Ron - I have a friend of mine who works for the locomotive maintenance division of Caterpillar.  He (and Caterpillar) fully expect that the current generation of fossil fuel locomotives will be the last one.  They are expected to be replaced by electric, and battery electric locomotives as they phase out of service over the next 20-30 years.  The era of fuel powered railroads is ending because it's just not worth it.  The reason has nothing to do with CO2 emissions, and everything to do with maintenance and operating costs.  Keeping a big fleet of electric and battery electric locomotives running is cheaper for the rail companies than it is for locomotives with ICE engines.  With battery electrics, the cost of electrifying track is brought down dramatically, because instead of having a full catenary system or whatever to electrify every inch of track they only need to have intermittent charging regions and/or charging stations.  Electric and battery electric locomotives have a lot fewer moving parts, much longer runs between a need for maintenance, and higher 'uptime' availability.  

Baloney, there is this reality called WINTER and basic logistics where things go to Shit without any electricity to power said drained batteries. Now you can probably get down to 1 out of 4 locomotives which are fuel based, but... still need something that does not lose power and has no ability to get recharged when blocking the entire track.

Edited by footeab@yahoo.com
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10 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Wonderful photography, thanks! I wonder why Wyoming has such a small population? Too cold?

Low average precipitation.

High average altitude.

Minuscule infrastructure.

Small industrial base.

Low soil fertility.

And, yeah, it's cold, and windy.

Similar to Mongolia, I guess...

 

Clipboard01.jpg

Edited by turbguy
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3 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

Those are all summer pictures - now do winter pictures and you will get the 'other' side of the coin.  They are still pretty, but not as pleasant to be in. 

There's no such thing as bad weather,

Just bad clothes...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/turbguy/49541531782/in/photostream/lightbox/

 

Edited by turbguy
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7 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

Looking at that CNG locomotive setup I just kept thinking "what a maintenance nightmare".

Time will tell. Warren Buffet owns a railroad and is big on natural gas. 

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7 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

I'll take your word for it :)

CNGMotive-Web-Internals-1-768x1024.jpg

CNGMotive-Web-Internals-2-768x1024.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-3-1024x768.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-4-1024x576.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-5-1024x768.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-6-1024x768.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-7-768x1024.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-8-1024x768.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-9-1024x768.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-13-768x1024.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-14-768x1024.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-10-768x1024.jpg
CNGMotive-Web-Internals-11-1024x576.jpg

The CNGMotive tender carries multiple CNG cylinders that hold methane gas at a high supply pressure in order to carry the required amount of fuel to operate the locomotives, which will be configured back-to-back with the tender in the middle, between re-fueling operations. When the locomotives’ prime-movers are started and the throttles are placed in Notches 3 through 8, the high-pressure CNG is lowered by the tender’s PRS (pressure reduction system) to 100 psi at 40 to 70 degrees F before it crosses the fuel coupling over to the locomotives. When this low-pressure CNG is injected into the combustion chamber, a very small amount of “pilot” diesel fuel is simultaneously injected to compression-ignite it. As the locomotive consist increases in speed and horsepower, the amount of gas injected rises accordingly.

The BNSF locomotives to be used in the test program require no changes from their prior LNG configuration. As such, “they are agnostic to the fuel,” Trillanes explains. “They can burn CNG or LNG. The pressure and temperature at the fuel coupler is the same, as well as the 21-pin electrical connectors for the control system.”

BNSF-9130_9131-1024x244.jpg BNSF EMD locomotives 9130 and 9131, seen here in LNG test service at TTCI, will be loaned to Norfolk Southern for the CNGMotive test program. BNSF photo.

Refueling of the locomotive/tender set, accomplished with Chill Fill® technology, is much faster than that of LNG. “There is multiyear successful application of the Chill Fill® technology in the oilfield and industrial virtual pipeline markets, and CNGMotive is the sole licensee of this intellectual property for locomotive fueling applications,” the company notes. “Our proprietary technology allows us to refill very large storage vessels in a 40-minute fill time and a less-than-one-hour total fill cycle.”

In terms of safety, CNGMotive says it has followed 49 CFR 229 Subpart E, which applies to the regulation of locomotive electronics, in conducting and completing the tender’s safety analysis. The company has also complied with AAR M-1004 “Interoperable Fuel Tenders for Locomotives” specifications for crashworthiness, shock and vibration. The CNG specifications for M-1004, originally developed for LNG fuel tenders, are “ready for release,” according to Mark Duve.

“The CNG tender and locomotives have safety systems that, in case of a leak, enable them to shut down immediately,” NS points out. “If a leak occurs, the methane gas will immediately vent off and move vertically into the atmosphere, due to this gas being lighter than air. It will not collect in low-lying pockets and present a safety hazard like other gases such as propane. Every safety component that has been installed for this application, as well as extensive FEA (Finite Element Analysis) and physical testing of the tender structure, is a vital component of the CNG fuel tender.”

NS says that it “is committed to investing in the training of first-responders along our test route on responding to accidents involving CNG.” The railroad will be employing its Operation Awareness and Response Safety Train to help educate first-responders, the general public and surrounding communities about the use of CNG as a fuel source. NS will also be educating these groups on the safety precautions that have been incorporated “to prevent any possible personal hazard.”

NS adds that it is “working diligently with the FRA to address all safety issues that might arise during this preliminary test operation. Regulations can be expected to be developed to insure that the safety of CNG as a railroad fuel is not compromised.” NS has requested an FRA letter of concurrence for test approval.

Well there are twice as many natural gas vehicles in the world than there are electric. They are, on average much larger than electric vehicles. Hundreds of millions of vehicles can be easily converted to CNG. Ships are being built that run on LNG and many are already in operation. There is a lot of experience using CNG in vehicles that dates back to WW1. There have been many advances in technology since then. Time will tell. It is just too bad that the "Masters of the Universe" want to dictate what every one else should do in the future. 

Edited by ronwagn
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(edited)

6 hours ago, footeab@yahoo.com said:

Baloney, there is this reality called WINTER and basic logistics where things go to Shit without any electricity to power said drained batteries. Now you can probably get down to 1 out of 4 locomotives which are fuel based, but... still need something that does not lose power and has no ability to get recharged when blocking the entire track.

This is probably an accurate assessment, but for railway use, supplying a steady supply of electricity at reasonably intervals isn't that hard - the tracks don't move around, and by definition are on/in easy methods of transporting heavy equipment for the charging stations, so you can plan ahead pretty well.  When things get super cold, ICE engines fail in odd ways to (frozen hydraulic oil, over thick engine oil, diesel sludging, compression misfires, freezing of residual water content in the diesel, freezing antifreeze, engines not reaching minimum safe operating temperature, rubber goods cracking up,  etc.) It's not as though there aren't a series of cold weather measures ready to go for places like northern Canada and the US northern plains states.  Most of them are extensive enough to fill whole operating manuals with.  Battery electric locomotives require cold weather plans to, and by all accounts it won't be dramatically tougher to adapt to. 

Edited by Eric Gagen
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17 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

Well there are twice as many natural gas vehicles in the world than there are electric. They are, on average much larger than electric vehicles. Hundreds of millions of vehicles can be easily converted to CNG. Ships are being built that run on LNG and many are already in operation. There is a lot of experience using CNG in vehicles that dates back to WW1. There have been many advances in technology since then. Time will tell. It is just too bad that the "Masters of the Universe" want to dictate what every on else should do in the future. 

Personally, I think natural gas is a great fuel for vehicles in general.  For railway use though, it seems like they are going to 'skip over' and go straight to battery electric with regularized power charging stations.  As I noted to @footeab@yahoo.com the tracks don't move, so it's a lot easier to plan out a charging network, and Battery-electric locomotives basically solve the infrastructure problem of having the whole system continuously electrified.  Locomotives also have a lot more 'down time' when they aren't moving than most people realize, making the charging time a non issue if the stations are in the right locations.  As I noted though, my friends at Caterpillar (and apparently the folks at Wabtec) could be wrong.  Even if they are right, the current fleet of diesel-electric locomotives will still be running the rails for 20-30 years at a minimum.  For an OEM like Caterpillar or Wabtec, that may not be a big enough market to be worth investing in equipment to convert it to CNG, but there are other smaller companies for whom it makes sense to chase that business, and some of the rail lines seem to want it.  If you are trying to predict the future, it would make sense to hedge your bets on both sides of the line, but it's probably safe to assume that diesel-electric will be over and done with in a predictable time frame. 

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