Metrolink renewable fuel (Photo: Dave Lustig)

USA: Southern California commuter rail agency Metrolink says it is the first US operator to switch its entire diesel locomotive fleet to renewable fuel made from recycled natural fats and vegetable oils.

The move follows a pilot project launched in early 2021; it aims to reduce pollutants and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%. The renewable fuel is currently imported from Finland and Shanghai, but the agency is looking to develop US sources.

‘This transition by Metrolink to using renewable fuel will help further reduce the air pollutants from our locomotives and improve the air quality for all the communities’, explained board Vice-Chair Larry McCallon, who is also a member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s governing board. ‘It is certainly the right thing that we needed to do for the health of our children and our quality of life.’

The operator regards the renewable fuel initiative as a bridge to the future use of zero-emissions technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells and battery power.

‘Metrolink is committed to protecting the environment, embracing social responsibility and creating economic vitality for our region’, said CEO Darren Kettle. ‘Our board-approved Climate Action Plan which paved the way to this moment, and it is the first step toward our zero-emissions future.’