Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer interstate passenger train powered by a biodiesel-fueled passenger locomotive from GE has made TIME magazine’s list of “The 50 Best Inventions of 2010.”
Calling it “Amtrak’s Beef Powered Train” in recognition of the biodiesel blend that includes beef byproduct, the Heartland Flyer joins the ranks of Apple Inc.’s iPad and better 3-D glasses on the “50 Best” list. Of the ten transportation innovations featured, it’s the only one available for use by the public.
Amtrak is currently conducting a 12-month biodiesel trial using GE’s Model P32 locomotive. GE Transportation has been working cooperatively with Amtrak on the project since 2007. The test locomotive was overhauled in 2008 to comply with EPA Tier 0 emission requirements.
GE Transportation assisted in the test plan and pre-test inspection for the biodiesel locomotive and will help evaluate the effect of the biodiesel on emissions and performance in 2011 when the test is completed.
In previously conducted stationary locomotive engine testing, the biodiesel blend known as B20 (20% pure biofuel and 80% diesel) reduced hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide each by 10 percent, reduced particulates by 15 percent and sulfates by 20 percent.
“This recognition from TIME magazine is an honor to our state partners and all of us at Amtrak who are working on this project, the nation’s first test of biodiesel in an interstate passenger train,” said Roy Deitchman, Amtrak Vice President, Environmental, Health and Safety. “Amtrak travel is already more energy efficient than most other forms of intercity transportation. If the test shows this use of a renewable fuel in our locomotive is successful, it’s a home run for our passengers, for our partners and for the planet.”
The Amtrak project is not the only biodiesel application for GE Locomotives. In Brazil, Evolution Series freight locomotives were modified to run on biodiesel fuel to comply with that country’s renewable energy regulations.
GE is committed to investing in research and development to conserve fuel and reduce emissions. Diesel engine development and refinement is a key element, along with advanced cooling systems and sophisticated software control systems that help significantly reduce fuel use and lower emissions.
GE also looks forward to the opportunity to provide Amtrak with its next generation higher speed locomotives.