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Amtrak conducts first biodiesel fuel test on Heartland Flyer


Amtrak and the Oklahoma and Texas departments of transportation are performing the nation’s first test of a biodiesel fuel blend to power a daily passenger train between Oklahoma City, Okla., and Fort Worth, Texas.

Aiming to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and the use of foreign oil, Amtrak received a $274,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to test the new fuel on a Heartland Flyer train. The biodiesel blend includes beef byproducts and is produced by a Texas-based vendor.

In previously conducted stationary locomotive engine tests, the biodiesel blend B20, which is 20 percent biofuel and 80 percent diesel, reduced hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emissions by 10 percent each; particulate emissions, by 15 percent; and sulfate emissions, by 20 percent, according to Amtrak.

After 12 months, Amtrak will take measurements on the P32-8 locomotive to determine the impact of biodiesel on valves and gaskets. In addition, the railroad will analyze locomotive exhaust emissions data.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/21/2010