The Anonymous Widower

Dual-Fuel Class 37 And 66 Locomotive Concepts Unveiled

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the first paragraph.

G-volution and SBL-Rail have produced design concepts for dual-fuel versions of Class 37 and 66 locomotives, which would be able to run on diesel with biomethane, biopropane or hydrogen.

Note.

  1. There are about sixty Class 37 locomotives in service or stored.
  2. 480 Class 66 locomotives were originally produced and over 300 must still be in service.
  3. Both locomotives have electric transmissions.
  4. G-volution are developing a dual-fuel Class 180 train, that I wrote about in Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial.
  5. Two of the design concepts involve replacing the current diesel engines with modern Cummins engines, that meet current emission regulations.
  6. Fuel savings of ten percent are mentioned for one engine conversion.

This is said about the dual-fuel conversions.

Biomethane and biopropane dual fuel engines would offer significant carbon and cost savings verses diesel. Hydrogen has the potential to do so if produced from renewable sources, but would need to be ‘much cheaper’ than it is today.

The article then gives a table, which shows the various savings.

The article comes to these conclusions.

  • Biomethane and biopropane prices are expected to fall, as production increases.
  • Green hydrogen is too expensive, but costs will come down.
  • More rises in the price of diesel, will tilt costs towards alternative fuels.

I feel that to get the emissions and costs down, there would need to be a bit of cheating.

Look at this picture of a Class 66 locomotive under 25 KVAC electrification.

I wonder, if a pantograph and all the electrical gubbins could be fitted to a Class 66 locomotive to create a genuine electro-diesel locomotive.

  • It would use electrification, where it exists.
  • It would use the existing electric transmission.
  • I do suspect though that the Class 37 locomotive may be more difficult to convert because of its age.

It should be noted that in GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives, I talk about how GB Railfreight are proposing to purchase a fleet of new electro-diesel freight locomotives, that appears will have Class 66 locomotive performance on both electrification and diesel.

The Involvement Of Cummins

Cummins, who are one of the world’s largest manufacturers of diesel engines, could have a lot to lose from the move to zero-carbon.

  • But they have adopted an if-you-can’t-them-join-them philosophy to hydrogen.
  • They have bought up hydrogen companies like Hydrogenics.
  • They are developing internal combustion engines that can run on hydrogen.
  • Cummins have claimed to me, that they will try to fill any niche market with their engines, so it would be likely, they would apply that philosohy to hydrogen.

I believe that Cummins will not give up their market share without a fight.

I would expect, Cummins will actively support G-volution’s plans, if it would sell upwards of fifty large engines.

Conclusion

I have four main conclusions.

  • I believe that this study could lead to a very significant and worthwhile updating of a Class 66 locomotive.
  • The locomotive would need to be modified so it could use electrification.
  • But I am more dubious, that this could be done with the Class 37 locomotive.
  • I also believe that Cummins will be part of the solution.

In the wider world, I also believe that to retain their turnover and market share, Cummins and the other big diesel engine manufacturers will come up with increasingly innovative solutions.

Caterpillar, Cummins, Deutz, JCB, MTU and others will not give up multi-billion businesses without a fight.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What Will Happen To Northern’s Class 195 Trains?

Northern’s Class 195 trains could be a problem in the future.

  • They are diesel multiple units.
  • There are twenty-five two-car trains and thirty-three three-car trains.
  • All cars have a Rolls-Royce MTU 6H1800R85L diesel engine, that drives the train through a ZF EcoLife 6-speed transmission.
  • They are 100 mph trains, which is adequate for the routes they serve.
  • According to Wikipedia, the trains are designed for a lifespan of thirty-five years, which takes the trains past the date, when it is intended that all trains should be zero-carbon.

It looks to me, that a plan will be needed to decarbonise these trains, as they are probably too new and costly to scrap.

These are possibilities to upgrade them to zero-carbon.

Rebuild as Class 331 Electric Trains

The design of the Class 195 trains is based on the same platform as that of the Class 331 trains.

I would expect that it could be possible to rebuild the Class 195 trains as Class 331 trains.

But it would be an expensive and disruptive process and would require a lot of electrification.

Some battery-electric versions could be created to cut the need for electrification.

Run The Trains On Net-Zero Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Or Other Fuels

In Powered By HVO, I wrote about research going on into the use of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil or HVO.

There is also ongoing research into other net-zero fuels that can be used in a diesel engine.

The process used by Velocys to create sustainable aviation fuel can also be used to produce diesel from various sources like disposable nappies, household waste and scrap wood.

Run The Trains On A Dual Fuel Basis With Hydrogen

In Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial, I talk about how Grand Central in collaboration with a company called G-volution are running experiments with dual-fuelling a Class 180 train. G-volution state that they could dual fuel with hydrogen using their technology.

The Class 180 trains have Cummins engines, but I suspect G-volution’s technology or something similar could be applied to the Rolls-Royce MTU engines in the Class 195 trains.

This could be a very promising route.

Convert The Diesel Engines To Run On Hydrogen

Cummins and JCB have developed internal combustion engines, that can run on hydrogen. I would be very surprised if Rolls-Royce MTU are not developing this technology.

Conclusion

There are options to convert the Class 195 trains into low or zero-carbon trains.

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December 23, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the first two paragraphs.

An Alstom Class 180 Adelante diesel-hydraulic multiple-unit is to be converted to run on a combination of diesel and liquefied natural gas in a dual-fuel technology demonstration project.

One car of the DMU which Arriva-owned open access inter-city operator Grand Central leases from Angel Trains is to be equipped with dual-fuel technology company G-volution’s Optimiser system, which is used in the road sector. The modifications are expected to be straightforward, enabling trials on the national network to start later this year.

The article dates from May 2019 and I suspect the small matter of the pandemic and Grand Central’s resulting three closures due to lockdowns are the reason this development hasn’t been heard of since.

But this was the London end of the Class 180 train, that I rode from Mirfield to King’s Cross.

I haven’t ridden in a Class 180 train for some years and there was nothing to indicate from the performance, that it was not a standard train.

There are fourteen of these 125 mph trains.

This explanatory video of G-volution’s technology is on the G-volution web site.

Note that in the video, one of G-volution’s Managing Director; Chris Smith says that the technology is fuel agnostic and will work with a range of fuels including ammonia, biodiesel, bio-LPG, hydrogen and methanol.

Conclusion

It will be very interesting to see what is decided to be the ideal fuel-combination and how much reduction is possible for the various emissions.

I’ll end with two questions.

Will Passengers Like The New Trains?

What is there not to like! Same train and performance with lower emissions.

Will Cummins Like What G-volution Have Done To Their Engines?

Cummins might be a bit miffed, as they built the QSK19 engines for the Class 180 trains and may have their own plans for them. But they are a practical and flexible company in my experience and generally they do what the customer needs or wants. Decarbonisation is surely in everybody’s interest.

Incidentally, the same Cummins diesel engines are used in the TransPennine Express, Class 185 trains, I’ve been riding in most of today.

There are fifty-one of these 100 mph trains in use in the UK. They could be ideal for some long routes, if they could be converted to low-emission.

 

 

December 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments