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Rail News: Mechanical

Rail Link switchers burn biodiesel blend at Tennessee chemical plant


By month’s end, Rail Link will begin fueling switchers servicing a Kingsport, Tenn., chemical facility with a more concentrated biodiesel blend.

The company will use a 20 percent biodiesel/80 percent petroleum diesel (B20) blend in five locomotives operated at Eastman Chemical Co.’s plant, where Rail Link provides inplant switching services. The Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) subsidiary — which operates 13 short lines and serves industrial customers in 11 states — began using a 10 percent biodiesel/80 percent diesel blend in early July.

Rail Link officials expect the five switchers to use more than 200,000 gallons of B20 annually. The shipper provides the fuel for the locomotives, which typically handle about 1,000 rail cars at the plant at any given time.

A cleaner-burning and renewable fuel, biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils or animal fats.

“GWI had already done extensive testing on their locomotives with biodiesel and determined that B20 was an acceptable blend to use,” said Eastman Staff Engineer Darren Curtis in a prepared statement. “As a result, GWI proposed making the switch.”