Reduced emissions predicted from ‘green’ train

In an effort to modernise shunting locomotives, a Canadian company has recently launched their emissions-reducing, fuel-efficient ‘Green Goat’ shunter onto the market. RailPower Technologies Corporation claim that their new shunter engine can reduce smog causing nitrogen oxide emissions and particulate matter production by at least 85%, removing equivalent emissions of 700 cars.

The Vancouver based company also say Green Goat can reduce yard operating costs by 30% through fuel efficiency, compared to other vehicles of this type, as well as being half the price to purchase.

In railway terms ‘goat’ is a shunter engine – the Green Goat is an environmentally friendly version known as a hybrid shunter because it is powered mainly by lead acid batteries rather than the traditional diesel energy source.

Thirty lead acid batteries weighing 55,000lbs power the locomotive, these are charged by a diesel micro-turbine engine. Unlike conventional shunter turbines, which continue to run when the train is idle, this micro-turbine is only used when the acid batteries need topping up therefore consuming less fuel. As the load of the generator engine doesn’t vary – the battery weight always remains the same – the Green Goat is allowed to travel at a constant speed.

When asked if they foresee any potential pollution problems with the acid batteries a spokesperson for RailPower pointed out that these batteries last for ten years in this train – double their normal lifespan. He added that these types of batteries are used in many types of vehicles with less negative environmental implications.

“The Green Goat is attracting attention from regulators, legislators and the railroad industry,” the spokesperson told edie. “We are very confident of our emissions reduction figures. It is the obvious solution for the railroad industry to reduce emissions.”

The Green Goat is currently leased to Union Pacific Railroad Company who are the first company to commercially test it. At the moment there is only one such shunter. However, RailPower anticipate making a decision soon on whether to produce more trains depending on the feedback it gets.

Story by Sorcha Clifford

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