UP, Wabtec and REG launch renewable fuel tests

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Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

“Earlier this month, @UnionPacific began refilling several of its locomotives with REG’s UltraClean BlenD™. Find out how using 100% biofuels can help them achieve their sustainability goals. …” REG tweeted on May 9, 2022. (Screenshot from REG video, courtesy of REG.)

Union Pacific (UP), in partnership with Wabtec and Renewable Energy Group (REG), announced earlier this month the launch of a “trial of 100% renewable fuels as part of our global ESG initiative called Building a Sustainable Future 2030”.

According to a May 9/10 Twitter post (see below), the Class I railroad has begun filling “several of its locomotives with REG‘s UltraClean BlenD™” at the Colton, California yard.

On March 8, UP announced that it would begin using a higher biodiesel blend in locomotives acquired from Wabtec. While units are used system-wide, AT THE TOP said it would begin testing in the second quarter on trains powered by Wabtec FDL engines running in California.

“Union Pacific is testing the use of a higher biodiesel blend – B20 biodiesel and R80 renewable diesel – on locomotives operating in California,” the railroad said in a May 12 statement to The age of the railway. (Wabtec locomotives were previously approved for B5 R30—5% biodiesel and 30% renewable diesel.)

“These tests are done in conjunction with Wabtec,” the railroad continued. “The project will help Union Pacific achieve its science-based goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. Union Pacific is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and achieve its environmental goals. Increasing the use of renewable diesel and biodiesel fuels is a promising way forward towards our goal.

In August 2021, UP reported that Progress Rail had approved the use of up to 20% biodiesel blend in the vast majority of ElectroMotive Diesel (EMD®) locomotives operated by the railroad: EMD 710 series units and 645. Previously, locomotives were allowed to use up to 5% biodiesel blend. “Progress Rail and Union Pacific are working together to test the higher biodiesel blend in the remaining EMD® fleet,” the railroad said in its 2021 climate action plan, released in December. “This is just the first step. EMD® locomotives represent only about 40% of our existing locomotive fleet. of our locomotive fleet compatible with higher blends of lower carbon fuels, and additional infrastructure investments may be required to facilitate the storage and use of these higher blend fuels.

“Our next steps are to seek similar approvals for the use of a 20% biodiesel blend from the other primary locomotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and to secure an adequate supply of fuels at low carbon. We are having conversations with current and potential players in the biodiesel supply chain to determine what infrastructure needs will be needed to help us achieve our goals. »

In related developments, CN, in partnership with Progress Rail and Renewable Energy Group (REG), announced in February that it had begun “100% renewable fuel trials in Pennsylvania.”

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