Oak Ridge, Argonne collaborate with Wabtec on hydrogen-powered trains to decarbonize rail business


Researchers from Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory (ORNL) and Argonne Nationwide Laboratory (ANL) will work with Wabtec, a number one producer of freight locomotives, to develop the {hardware} and management methods for a single-cylinder, dual-fuel engine to show the viability of utilizing different fuels for locomotives.

The analysis focuses on zero-carbon hydrogen and different low-carbon fuels as viable alternate options to diesel for the rail business. The group’s aim is to scale back carbon emissions from the roughly 25,000 locomotives already in use in North America.


Researchers from the multidisciplinary group kicked off the mission and celebrated the set up of rail know-how firm Wabtec’s single-cylinder dual-fuel locomotive engine within the Nationwide Transportation Analysis Heart, a DOE-designated consumer facility positioned at ORNL, throughout an occasion on 9 November.

Each laboratories have entered into cooperative analysis and growth agreements with Wabtec, a number one producer of freight locomotives. The Argonne and Wabtec settlement additionally consists of Convergent Science, Inc., a software program developer. The mission will run for 4 years.

Hydrogen as gas has many benefits, however locomotive engines should be modified to make sure protected, environment friendly and clear operation. The group will develop {hardware} and management methods for the engine, which is able to run on hydrogen and diesel gas to show the viability of utilizing different fuels.

Josh Pihl, an ORNL distinguished researcher and group chief for utilized catalysis and emissions analysis mentioned the mission aligns with the objectives of DOE’s Automobile Applied sciences Workplace to make use of low-carbon fuels in hard-to-electrify transportation sectors.

Whereas electrifying automobiles is an efficient technique in decreasing carbon emissions from some elements of the transportation sector, railways are thought-about tougher due to the excessive value of constructing a single coordinated electrified rail system throughout North America. Annually, the North American rail fleet emits roughly 87.6 billion kilos of carbon dioxide.

To cut back carbon dioxide emissions to web zero by 2050, we should make dramatic enhancements in power effectivity and emissions within the general transportation system, together with railways. Hydrogen has been utilized in light-duty combustion engines. Nevertheless, hydrogen is a more recent space of analysis in railway purposes.

—Muhsin Ameen, Argonne senior analysis scientist

The analysis group is growing combustion know-how to energy the subsequent technology of trains with as much as 100% hydrogen and different low-carbon fuels. The group’s aim is to design prepare engines that can ship the identical energy, vary and cost-effectiveness as present diesel know-how.

Within the mission’s first part, the ORNL group will work on {hardware} modifications for retrofitting locomotives. Its aim is to scale back CO2 emissions from the roughly 25,000 locomotives already in use in North America. Locomotives have a service lifetime of greater than 30 years, so changing all the fleet would take many years.

Through the second part of the mission, ORNL and Wabtec will proceed to change the engine {hardware} to extend the quantity of hydrogen that can be utilized. The group goals to exchange utterly diesel with hydrogen or low-carbon fuels in new locomotives.

On the identical time, Argonne will leverage greater than a decade of expertise in modeling hydrogen injection and combustion to create a modeling framework to review combustion and emission management applied sciences utilized in hydrogen combustion engines. Consultants in gas injection, kinetics and combustion modeling, design optimization, high-performance computing and machine studying will take the mission from begin to end.

Scientists are utilizing Argonne’s high-performance computer systems to develop simulation software program. This instrument will assist predict the habits of combustion engines as working circumstances change and {hardware} is modified.

Every diesel-powered locomotive that’s transformed to a zero- or low-carbon power supply is anticipated to avoid wasting as much as 5.6 million kilos of carbon dioxide per yr.

Along with Pihl, the ORNL group consists of analysis engineers Dean Edwards and Eric Nafziger and analysis mechanic Steve Whitted.

Together with Ameen, the Argonne group consists of group chief and principal analysis scientist Riccardo Scarcelli, postdoctoral fellow Samuel Kazmouz and principal engine analysis scientist Christopher Powell.

The mission is funded by the Automobile Applied sciences Workplace underneath DOE’s Workplace of Vitality Effectivity and Renewable Vitality and by Wabtec. In-kind contributions are supplied by Wabtec and Convergent Science, Inc. The USDepartment of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration can also be funding associated analysis on protected use of hydrogen in locomotive engines.


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