November 14, 2018

BNSF turns to electric vehicles to "green" up operations

BNSF turns to electric vehicles to "green" up operations

Railroad awarded $22.6 million grant for clean technology pilot program.

By DC Velocity Staff

BNSF Railway Co. says it has seen the future, and it is electric—or at least hybrid-electric. The Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad will soon "electrify" a number of its vehicles, including cranes, trucks, loaders, and trains, as part of an upcoming clean technology pilot in California. About half the cost of the $45 million project will be covered by a $22.6 million "Zero and Near Zero Emission Freight Facilities" grant from the California Air Resources Board.

Among the clean vehicles to be used in the pilot are a Taylor all-electric side loader, a BYD all-electric drayage truck, and two hybrid rubber-tire gantry cranes from Mi-Jack, which have the ability to reduce emissions by 70 percent compared with diesel versions.

BNSF will also partner with GE Transportation on a battery-electric locomotive that will be paired with diesel locomotives to power a freight train traveling from Stockton, Calif., to Barstow. This battery-electric locomotive will generate 2,400 kilowatt-hours of power and could potentially reduce a freight train's total fuel consumption by at least 10 to 15 percent, according to GE.

"Battery-powered or hybrid locomotives are promising technologies for the rail industry, with the potential to reduce operating costs and emissions," Dominique Malenfant, vice president for global technology at GE Transportation, said in a release. "This project will give us tremendous insight into the capabilities of battery power and the best operational methods of leveraging the technology."

These clean technology initiatives will build on BNSF's existing investments in sustainable technologies, including idle control, electric wide-span cranes, electric hostlers, automated gates at its intermodal facilities, and Tier 4 locomotives.

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