Skip to main content

Novel dual-fuel system for modernisation of air-polluting diesel locomotives to clean and efficient gas operation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NYSMART (Novel dual-fuel system for modernisation of air-polluting diesel locomotives to clean and efficient gas operation)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2020-05-31

Over 70% of all the world’s railway locomotives are powered by diesel engines, consuming more than 34 billion liters of diesel fuel annually. Diesel exhaust is known to be the third largest human-made source of toxic emissions that contribute to significant negative impact on human health and global air pollution. Such particles as fine particular matter (PM) cause a serious risk to health, increasing the likelihood of cancer and considered to be cancerogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Along with NOx and CO2 they cause negative cardiovascular and respiratory health effects; pollution of air, water, and soil; soiling; and damages to vision. In addition, diesel-powered vehicles facilitate ozone formation known as smog, acid rains, and overall global climate change.
To fight the increasing hazard, the European Union has set stricter limits on the exhaust emissions of new locomotives, leading to more complex technologies and, thus, higher costs of acquiring compliant engines, correspondingly new locomotives. European railway operators have now found themselves in difficult situationof modernizing their locomotive fleets and minimizing their ecological footprint, especially considering that 70% of the European diesel locomotives are at least 30 years old. Besides, the inefficiency of the engines of the old locomotives coupled with rising diesel prices have made fuel costs another major problem for rail operators worldwide – costs of diesel fuel currently account for up to 60% of total operational costs.
To promote clean and efficient operations DiGas has pioneered NYSMART, a dual-fuel system for diesel engines based on a proprietary patented dual-fuel technology tailored for modernization of air-polluting diesel locomotives. Due to its modular design, NYSMART can be quickly and simply installed onto any diesel engine type. Once installed on the locomotive, it delivers PM reductions of 90% and lowers NOx and CO2 emissions by 30% and 15-20%, respectively. Additionally, the use of an advanced intelligent engine management system results in a 30% reduction in fuel costs, delivering a rapid payback for the customer while providing torque and performance matching or exceeding that of a diesel engine.
Overall, NYSMART project aims at bringing to market the innovative and cost-effective dual-fuel system and through it delivering a wide range of benefits. DiGas will tailor its dual-fuel system for various types of shunter locomotives and conduct field tests in operational environment. This will allow for independent verification and certification of the NYSMART system by relevant bodies. During the NYSMART project DiGas will reach Technology Readiness Level 9 for its dual-fuel system. By bringing to market a tailored, independently verified and fully certified product will allow DiGas to aim for a total addressable market of more than 70% of global railway locomotives which are diesel operated. This in turn will allow the company to commercialize the technology providing solution to a long standing problem described above at the same time increasing the competitiveness of the European Union, providing additional high skilled jobs and a cleaner and more sustainable means of transportation for all Europeans.
During the second period of the project, DiGas continued to implement a variety of tasks to achieve the set goals within the project.
During this period, DiGas changed 2 types of shunter locomotives to a General Electric C36 mainline locomotive, which will be equipped with NYSMART system. The main reason for such a change is greater commercialization potential and impact projected if the mainline locomotive segment is targeted. Also, a greater impact towards the decarbonization of the railway sector and the gas grid. Mainline locomotive’s GE C36 construction differences and parameters were studied to reflect arrangement and installation specifics from conformity assessment point of view. To reflect these technical parameters DiGas team developed integration design for mainline locomotive GE C36. (WP4, WP5)
DiGas team also continued explore and develop best solution of Liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and supply system for railway application in order to increase value for customers. This was done because, during the previous reporting period, from communication with potential clients and cooperation partners, DiGas received assurance of very high interest not only in CNG, but also in LNG dual fuel solution for shunter and mainline locomotives. During the reporting period DiGas team finalized the solution.(WP4)
Within reporting period DiGas team also finished work on prototype of DiGas Telemetry System, that was tested in operation environment. DiGas Telemetry System (DTS) provides the high-speed real-time data infrastructure for enabling advanced railroad applications. (WP4)
The main result during reporting period is that NYSMART system on shunter locomotive CHME-3 obtained certification review and conformity assessment, that it complies with set requirements. NYSMART dual fuel system for CHME-3 shunter locomotive was evaluated and checked, verifying the compliance of dual fuel system’s technical documentation, system’s component compliance with technical documentation, risk assessments, which included risk assessment regarding safety of gas system and risk assessment regarding safe operation on railway infrastructure.(WP4, WP5)
Finally, during reporting period DiGas team continued to implement dissemination and communication activities according to developed DiGas strategy to achieve the set objectives. During the period DiGas team prepared and submitted patent application and started to work on new application, participated in different trade fairs, brokerage events, forums. (WP6)
NYSMART seeks to establish methane in the form of bio, natural or synthetic gas as the new standard in the rail transportation industry displacing oil based diesel fuel. This objective is to be reached by providing enabling technology for widespread and scalable diesel locomotive modernization that allows cost-efficient and environmentally friendly bio, natural or synthetic gas operations. The transition in the fuels will not only benefit locomotive operators in terms of significant fuel cost reduction and compliance with future emission regulations but will also provide new business opportunities for gas companies, locomotive repair plants, compressed gas system component manufacturers, and notified bodies involved in certification.
The expansion of the gas application and adaption of NYSMART dual-fuel system is expected to positively affect the EU railway sector, which due to its size and significance, in turn, is likely to lead to progress of the EU economy altogether. Additionally, around at least 98 new highly skilled job positions are forecasted to be established within DiGas and companies in the supply chain. Perhaps most importantly, successful completion of NYSMART project and commercialization of the innovation would prevent 36.4 million kg of CO2 and 1.2 million kg of NOx from being released in the atmosphere by the year 2024 and result in almost complete removal of exhaust particulate matter. The reduced greenhouse gas emissions are expected to increase the health and well-being of European citizens and decrease healthcare costs for governments and insurance companies that are currently paying for the damaged health.
Retrofitted shunter locomotive with NYSMART system