GE’s Tier 4 Locomotive Cuts Emissions ‘More than 70%’

by | Aug 27, 2012

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GE Transportation has unveiled the prototype for its next-generation freight locomotive that it says will decrease emissions by more than 70 percent compared to 2005 engines and save railroad customers more than $1.5 billion in infrastructure and operational costs.

GE expects that its latest Evolution Series Locomotive will be the first in the industry to meet the US EPA’s Tier 4 emission standards, which take effect in 2015 and call for the single largest emission reduction in the tiered program’s timeline. Tier 4 requires manufacturers to lower locomotive diesel engines’ particulate emissions by 70 percent and NOx by 76 percent, compared to engines first introduced in 2005.

GE says its new ecomagination-qualified locomotive will meet these requirements with technological advancements as opposed to “costly alternatives,” which would likely use a urea exhaust additive to meet the emission standards. This would require railroads to build an extensive network of fueling stations across North America.

GE says its locomotive will not require a urea exhaust additive, which means railroad customers will not have to pay more than $1.5 billion for rail infrastructure upgrades.

More than 5,000 Evolution Series Locomotives operate in the US and globally, allowing railroads to move 1 ton of freight more than 480 miles on a single gallon of fuel, according to the company.

This engine technology is the result of an initial six-year, $400 million investment, followed by a two-year, $200 million investment to hone the research, design and engineering to meet Tier 4 standards.

Earlier this month, Union Pacific Railroad announced it is investing $20 million to test new technology designed to reduce diesel emissions from freight locomotives — its latest effort toward meeting Tier 4 standards.

A series of 25 experimental locomotives will be based in two Union Pacific rail yards in California as part of the test. The intermediate line-haul units have an operating range of about 200 miles, and will be used exclusively in California.

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