In April, Amtrak and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation launched a one-year test of a biodiesel-fueled locomotive on the Heartland Flyer route, which operates between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas. The GE Transportation P32-8 locomotive uses a biodiesel blend known as B20, which contains 20 percent biofuel and 80 percent diesel. In previously conducted stationary locomotive testing, the fuel reduced hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 10 percent each, particulate emissions by 15 percent and sulfate emissions by 20 percent.
At the end of the test period, Amtrak will take detailed measurements on the locomotive to determine the impact of the biodiesel on valves and gaskets. The railroad also will collect locomotive emissions data for analysis in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s federal test protocols.
The test is being funded through a $274,000 Federal Railroad Administration grant.