ECI Upfit of Two SD40-2 Locomotives Marks Historic Shift
CN – the Canadian National Railway Company – has made revenue runs between Edmonton and the tar sands town of Fort McMurray with locomotives converted to LNG-diesel dual fuel operation. The Alberta train uses hydraulic direct injection technology from Energy Conversions, Inc. of Tacoma, Wash.
The liquefied natural gas-diesel dual fuel train was yard-tested this past summer and, with the delivery of a modernized LNG tender car, quickly placed in service.
“It was doing revenue freight on its second run,” says Scott Jensen, chief designer and project coordinator with ECI. The initial revenue trip, carrying some 7,000 tons of mixed goods, was on Wednesday, September 12, he says.
The single LNG tender supports twin EMD SD40-2 locomotives with 16-645E3 engines, modified to run on an LNG-diesel mix using an ECI kit and key software. The fuel is vaporized on the tender and carried cross the couplers as a warmed gas.
ECI’s hydraulic direct injection system is designed to displace as much as 94% to 96% of the diesel fuel at cruise. Overall in-service displacement is likely to be 75% to 80%. The engine starts on diesel, and can run on pure diesel if need be.
‘Not Playing Games’
A third, straight diesel locomotive on the CN train was used for the return run from Fort McMurray, Jensen says, as the return load was approximately 11,000 tons.
The tender car dates from the 1990s and has been updated by Chart Industries for CN – and now sports red-and-black CN livery). It is playing a role in today’s historic shift toward natural gas in high horsepower applications.
“They’re not just playing games,” says ECI’s Jensen. “This is step one of a bigger picture.”
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Source: Fleets & Fuels reportage