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<< Rail News Home: Mechanical

4/18/2006    Eye on the Environment

Rail News: Mechanical

UP to test air emission-reducing devices on older locomotives

During the past few years, Class Is have acquired thousands of new locomotives that emit fewer air pollutants compared with older models. Now, one large road plans to test devices designed to reduce air pollutants — especially particulate matter — emitted from older locomotives’ diesel engines.

In collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory and the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), Union Pacific Railroad will equip a 3,800-horsepower SD60M locomotive built in 1992 with MIRATECH Corp.’s oxidation catalyst or “oxicat” devices. Engine exhaust flows through the devices — similar to flow-through catalytic converters — to convert particulate matter into water and carbon dioxide.

SWRI will modify the SDM60 and perform EPA locomotive emissions tests to verify how much particulate matter the oxicats remove from the locomotive’s exhaust. Afterward, UP will test the locomotive for at least one year in the Los Angeles Basin area.

UP and the EPA laboratory also plan to equip a 1,500-horsepower switcher built in 1982 with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), which is designed to trap particulate matter in the engine exhaust using high-temperature silicon carbide blocks. As gases containing carbon particles accumulate, the DPF periodically heats the carbon to ignite it and burn it off as water and carbon dioxide. In September, UP will begin testing the DPF-equipped switcher in Oakland, Calif.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.