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UP in search of reduced emissions

01 Mar 2007

UNION PACIFIC took its quest for reduced emissions technology onto the main line on January 17, when it unveiled a refitted EMD SD60M in the Los Angeles suburb of Commerce. The 3 800?hp locomotive will be tested in captive service around the Southern California basin. The 17-year old loco has been modified with experimental aftermarket technology, including an oxidation catalyst filtering canister in the exhaust manifold. The catalytic material inside the 'oxicat' is intended to reduce chemically the amount of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter generated by the prime mover. After having its diesel engine refurbished at the railroad's Jenks Locomotive Facility in North Little Rock, Arkansas, No 2368 was sent to the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas for installation of the experimental equipment. The loco has been fitted with a series of sensors to monitor emissions remotely using GPS. This will allow technicians to evaluate how the oxicat is functioning over the year-long test. The loco has also been equipped with a ZTR Systems SmartStart device that automatically shuts down and restarts the engine when it has been idling for an extended period. According to UP officials, the SD60M was chosen because the US Environmental Protection Agency wanted to observe the effects of retrofitting an older high-horsepower 'Tier 0' loco. It was subjected to EPA locomotive standards testing before and after the oxicat was installed, using standard fuel to EPA certification requirements and the ultra-low sulphur diesel which UP is now using for intrastate locomotives in California. Static testing showed that using ULSD alone reduced particulate emission by about 4% compared to standard diesel fuel. Using ULSD with the oxidation catalyst reduced particulate emissions by about 50%, unburned hydrocarbons by 38% and carbon monoxide by 82%. This brought 2368 into line with the EPA Tier 2 requirements in force for new locomotives since January 1 2005. The SD60 is not the only reduced-emissions locomotive on the UP roster. In December MP15DC 1378 entered service in Oakland fitted with an experimental external emissions filter. Also on test is UPY 2005, a prototype two-engined 'genset' yard switcher supplied by National Railway Equipment Corp. Both of these were on display at the launch of the SD60M (above). And the first of 60 three-genset switchers being supplied to UP by NRE was unveiled on January 31 (inset). All of these locos except the MP15DC are expected to operate in Southern California. n