Nagatoshi station

Photos: Gohachiyasu1214/CC BY-SA 4.0

JAPAN: West Japan Railway is to test the use of biofuels to power diesel multiple-units on the Sanin Main Line between Shimonoseki and Nagatoshi.

The trials later this year will use biofuel supplied by Tokyo-based Euglena. The aim is to assess performance and fuel consumption, with a view to commercial operations from 2025.

In the 2021 financial year, JR West’s DMUs, which amount to 7% of its fleet, consumed 21 000 000 litres of diesel fuel. The railway is planning to switch all its DMUs to biofuels to reduce its carbon footprint.

Biofuels are more expensive than diesel, and as most DMUs operate on lightly used used rural railways the operator has called for government subsidies to shield passengers from the increased operating costs.