Note: This story was updated at 1 p.m. Nov. 12.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has started a research project to investigate using hydrogen fuel in a railroad engine to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help fight climate change. Rail is one of the industries considered challenging to decarbonize along with aviation and shipping.
Researchers at ORNL and Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago will use a large single-cylinder 375-horsepower Wabtec engine that will burn a mixture of hydrogen and diesel fuel, which is what locomotives burn now. Under four-year agreements, the researchers will study things like engine hardware, fuel mixtures, and ignition strategies. Other low-carbon fuels could also be studied.
“We are excited to be a part of this collaboration because it addresses the need to decarbonize the rail industry by advancing hydrogen engine technology for both current and future locomotives,” said Josh Pihl, an ORNL distinguished researcher and group leader for applied catalysis and emissions research. “It is also a perfect example of how a DOE-funded collaboration between industry and national laboratories can accelerate the development and commercialization of technologies to help reduce carbon emissions from transportation.”
The 15.7-liter engine, larger than a tractor-trailer motor, was recently installed in garage-size research space at the National Transportation Research Center, an ORNL campus in Hardin Valley. ORNL had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the engine research project on Wednesday.[Read more…]