The Locomotive Emissions Monitoring (LEM) data filing for 2009 has been completed in accordance with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on May 15, 2007, between the Railway Association of Canada (RAC), Environment Canada and Transport Canada. In meeting the CAC commitments under the MOU, the railways have focused primarily on purchasing new, freshly manufactured line-haul locomotives meeting the EPA Tier 2 emissions standard and retiring 1973-99 era medium horsepower locomotives.
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Emissions Reduction Initiatives by Railways
During 2009, the railways continued to acquire new locomotives compliant with U.S. EPA Tier 2 emissions standards (which came into force January 1, 2005). These new locomotives are factory-fitted with AESS systems to minimize idling. Some older locomotives have been fitted with either AESS or APU units upon remanufacture.
Following a test period in 2008 and supported by Transport Canada's ecoFREIGHT program, CP acquired two Tier 2 GenSet locomotives in 2009 for road switching operations in southern Ontario. The motive power for these units is three independent 700 horsepower industrial diesel engines (as opposed to one 2,100 horsepower diesel engine), which are activated incrementally to supply the traction horsepower required, resulting in significant fuel savings, ultra-low emissions and longer engine life.
As part of the Government of Canada's Renewable Fuels Strategy, the Renewable Fuels Regulations require producers and importers of diesel fuel and heating oil to have an annual average of 2 percent renewable fuel content in the fuel they produce and import. This requirement will come into force on July 1, 2011. More information is available at http://www.ec.gc.ca/energie-energy/default.asp?lang=En&n=0AA71ED2-1.
CP began a five-month winter operational trial beginning in November 2009, with support from the National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative, to test the feasibility of biodiesel in Canadian winter. While the demonstration findings reported no service operations, no adverse impact to locomotive engine performance or components, renewable fuel supply chain issues still need to be addressed. Fuel efficiency was not assessed.
A short line, Southern Railway of British Columbia, conducted an operational trial in 2007 to gain experience for handling biodiesel and have been using it since.
Similarly, expecting that more stringent emissions limits will be legislated, field testing was conducted on prototype diesel oxidation catalysts by VIA to reduce CAC emissions from locomotives. Such devices require ULSD fuel on which the Canadian passenger railways have standardized on its use.
In 2009, CN implemented a program to match locomotive HP to the trailing tons of the train (HPT or Horsepower per Ton). This is accomplished by throttle notch limiting instructions, which are issued to each train upon dispatch. This means that locomotives are not run in their top throttle power notch setting when maximum power is not required. An on-board locomotive wireless communication system (Wi-Tronix) connected to a special CN designed Real-Time Business Information system is used to monitor compliance with the program as each train proceeds. Control of excess HPT is a significant factor in reducing freight train fuel consumption.
Fuel consumption per RTK in 2009 was 3 percent less than 2008.
After testing in 2008 that demonstrated 6-10 percent reductions in fuel consumption, CP began installing the GE Fuel Trip Optimizer technology on their GE Evolution locomotives in 2009. The system evaluates train length, weight, grade, track conditions, weather and locomotive performance to calculate the most efficient way of running the train while maintaining smooth train handling.
Staff training and incentives focusing on fuel conserving train-handling procedures were accelerated.
Distributed power (DP), remotely controlled in-train and end-of-train locomotives, became more common in 2009 because railways realized DP trains could be longer and heavier, use less fuel, could stop faster and reduce wheel/rail wear due to lower lateral forces during curves. Similarly, electronic-assist train driving procedures are helping locomotive operators to minimize fuel consumption and emissions.
Non-locomotive equipment initiatives leading to reduced fuel consumption and emissions included acquisition of additional higher-capacity freight cars and lower-weight aluminum gondola units. Further, operational fluidity improvements were implemented, which included infrastructure upgrades, wheel-flange lubrication, top-of-rail friction control and the benefits of co-production arrangements between the Class I freight railways, CN and CP, for shared operation on mainline segments.
RAC Awareness Generation Actions Aimed at Emissions Reduction
The RAC provides a venue for the railway companies to exchange ideas and best operating practices for reducing emissions associated with railway activities. The RAC is in frequent communication with its members, through newsletters, e-mail distribution, working committees, RAC member events, the RAC Annual General Meeting and through the RAC website. As such, the RAC distributes relevant information within its membership regarding technologies and operating practices that reduce emissions, particularly GHGs, on an activity basis. Similarly, to assist shippers and other concerned parties to know or evaluate the difference in emissions levels, on a shipment-by-shipment basis, between choosing rail versus trucking mode, the RAC initiated the development of an online Rail Freight Greenhouse Gas Calculator. The calculator is now available at http://www.railcan.ca/environment/calculator.
To further emphasize awareness about environmental concerns, the RAC sponsors an annual Environmental Award Program for both passenger and freight railways operating in Canada. The objective of the program is to share and assess initiatives undertaken by railways to improve their environmental performance.