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

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - NYSMART (Novel dual-fuel system for modernisation of air-polluting diesel locomotives to clean and efficient gas operation)

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-07-31

Over 70% of all the world’s railway locomotives are powered by diesel engines, consuming more than 34 billion litres 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 situation of modernising their locomotive fleets and minimising their ecological footprint, especially considering that 70% of the European diesel locomotives are at least 30 years old.
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 modernisation 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, the emissions are reduced for NOX in amount of nearly 50%, Particulate Maters are cut by nearly 70%, the calculated CO2 emissions are lowered by 72% and SO2 values are down by 67%. Able to deliver average fuel substitution rate up to 70% it proves to be a vital instrument in transition to pollution reduced mobility helping to reach the goals of 2030 Climate Target Plan. 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. During the NYSMART project DiGas has reached Technology Readiness Level 9 for its dual-fuel system.
DiGas has tailored its dual-fuel system for 3 types of shunter locomotives and 1 mainline locomotive resulting in 4 types of locomotives being certified.
The breakdown of the activities towards execution of the project in 8 Working Packages has proved to be successful as the objectives have been achieved and DiGas has presented the NYSMART dual fuel system according the TRL 9 requirements, being ready to move ahead for commercialisation stage covering the projected exploitation as planned.
All dissemination KPI’s were reached or overreached showing that the previously planned activities have been accomplished accordingly.
While performing dissemination activities it is vital to have related knowledge being protected, thus DiGas successfully filed a patent application for “Locomotive Diesel Engine Control Method and System”. The invention in question applies to methods for controlling the power and rotational speed of a diesel engine. More specifically, controlling the power and rotational speed of a diesel engine used in rail traction powered by a three-component fuel mixture, consisting of both gaseous and liquid fuels and air.
The results of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Work Packages allowed to move forward with high quality, reliable and safe product to be achieved and further manufactured in 4th Work Package. All of the above were crucial aspects to carry out the conformity assessment and certification procedures within 5th Work Package (System certification and proving) as the development and manufacturing process done in accordance with regulations requirements researched and studied within the task made certification procedure clear and effective. Successful type approval certification of all 4 types of target locomotives bridges the project implementation phase with the post project commercialisation of NYSMART dual fuel system for diesel locomotives. This documentation enables the NYSMART dual fuel system modernised locomotives to operate within particular EU member states and to achieve free movement of goods and prevent trade barriers as well as reduce the emissions of railway transport and the costs associated with it. With that, DiGas had achieved the milestone of the project with all 4 locomotive types certified.
During the project of NYSMART system development, the DiGas team has performed excessive research on the industry related regulations concerning the exhaust emissions and air pollution.
In order to prove the beneficial impact, the emission tests for all four locomotives were performed. The emissions are reduced for NOX in amount of nearly 50%, Particulate Maters are cut by nearly 70%, the calculated CO2 emissions are lowered by 72% and SO2 values are down by 67%.
Analysis of safety parameters confirmed high level of NYSMART safety level and secured safe and reliable operations as required by applicable regulations.
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.
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.
The data presented in the project strongly indicates the advantageous use of NYSMART system together with biogas, considering the CO2 reduction achievable when biogas is used the dual system presented by DiGas is tremendous tool in order to tackle the greenhouse gasses. Important aspect to consider is that the strong benefit to emission reduction is brought by NYSMART systems performance in terms of diesel fuel substitution. Able to deliver average fuel substitution rate up to 70% it proves to be a vital instrument in transition to pollution reduced mobility helping to reach the goals of 2030 Climate Target Plan.
The NYSMART dual fuel system has proved its use as calculated external cost savings that the system can deliver is EUR 252 366,94 a year per one locomotive. Following the sales forecast it can be estimated that DiGas NYSMART system is going to save external costs for up to EUR 174,3 million by year 2025.
Retrofitted mainline locomotive