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Tier 4 ACe Orders

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Tier 4 ACe Orders
Posted by coopers on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 12:22 AM

Sorry but this is the most convenient forum for me to ask this on... I know a lot of you are on other sites/forums etc. Anyone have knowledge of any orders being placed for the Tier 4 ACe's? I know UP had some ordered but I haven't found anything that shows interest by BNSF, KCS, CN etc. 

I thought I read that CP had some testers on their rails? Any one think they'd actually buy EMD?

 

Thanks

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 2:54 AM

coopers

Sorry but this is the most convenient forum for me to ask this on... I know a lot of you are on other sites/forums etc. Anyone have knowledge of any orders being placed for the Tier 4 ACe's? I know UP had some ordered but I haven't found anything that shows interest by BNSF, KCS, CN etc. 

I thought I read that CP had some testers on their rails? Any one think they'd actually buy EMD?

 

Thanks

 

 

Have you read page 18 of the current (April) Trains?

That shows 346 domestic units of all kinds currently on order from all builders.

I assume that some of these are part of the 88 new SD70ACeT4 units being built for UP (UP are taking 12 SD70ACeT4 demonstrators).

But GE must only have orders for around 200 ET44s for 2017 on that basis.

It isn't that nobody is buying SD70ACeT4s, nobody is buying locomotives...

Peter

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Posted by kgbw49 on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 6:56 AM

Here is a complete layman's question.

I know the Tier 4 units lower emissions significantly from Tier 3. Does Tier 4 do anything for fuel efficiency compared to Tier 3?

Thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge.

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Posted by NorthWest on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 11:50 AM

I have no hard numbers, but rumors are that fuel economy is worse for Tier IV locomtives than for Tier III, and quite a bit (5%) worse. I don't know if that figure is in any way accurate, but EGR has traditionally been associated with loss of fuel economy in other applications.

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Posted by RME on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 1:53 PM

NorthWest
rumors are that fuel economy is worse for Tier IV locomtives than for Tier III, and quite a bit (5%) worse. I don't know if that figure is in any way accurate, but EGR has traditionally been associated with loss of fuel economy in other applications.

I would suspect that the issue is more with the DPF (the particulate filter).  Periodically this builds up soot and has to be 'cleaned out' perhaps comparatively often at unpredictable intervals.  The way this has often been done is via 'regeneration', which is a fancy way of saying that additional fuel is used to take the EGT waaaaaay up to where the carbon in the soot heats up and 'burns off' -- perhaps needless to say, this is done by using more fuel each time.  Light truck diesels in particular show about this magnitude (5-6%) reflected in indicated mileage (rather than sfc numbers) which may indicate some additional losses while the process is going on.  (There is also the problem of flame out of the tailpipe and ignition of leaves under the vehicle, etc. that crops up from time to time; not sure whether this would increase hood-door scorch on GEs...)

MEANWHILE, one of the major points of Tier 4 final is a drastic reduction in NOx levels.  This requires lower peak temperature in the combustion reaction, and perhaps lower peak compression ratio in the engine.  Both those things take down the efficiency of a conventional compression-ignition engine burning relatively heavy liquid fuels, and they also restrict to an extent the amount of EGR enthalpy that can be used to 'regenerate' (not the same sense as above; it's in the sense that gas turbines use exhaust heat to increase the temperature of intake air) the intake charge.  NOT a 'win-win' for fuel economy in any sense.  But for those concerned about the added number of grams/hp/hr of NOx for Tier 4 over Tier 3, it must be worthwhile (even though the grams of carbon actually increase, etc.)

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Posted by Entropy on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 2:32 PM

coopers

 Anyone have knowledge of any orders being placed for the Tier 4 ACe's? I know UP had some ordered but I haven't found anything that shows interest by BNSF, KCS, CN etc. 

BNSF has been testing a pair of SD70ACe-T4-P4 units. Source in the link below.

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2016/09/08-emd-p4-tier-4-demos-set-to-begin-testing

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 3:14 PM

Here is a good summary of the standards:

https://www.dieselnet.com/standards/us/loco.php

Scroll down to Table 3.

Note the dramatic reduction in particulate matter emission from Tier 3 to Tier 4 which leads to RME's earlier comments.

The standard makes no reference to fuel consumption.

Peter

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Posted by CMQ_9017 on Thursday, March 02, 2017 8:32 PM

I do believe EMD/Cat are going after the 'valued added' features vs GE. For example, they focused quite a bit on ergonmics for crews, data collection/analysis for performance management and a superior radial truck design (over its lifetime counting maintenace) that reduces rail wear with some spiffy axle control features. Since railroads are driving the bottom line more than they ever have, the overall value of the loco to the plant and people may grab some incremental sales. GE was first to the game but as stated, no one is really jumping in right now so EMD has very little ground to actually make up. The DC to AC conversion trend seems to be taking a bit of life and Progress Rail/EMD is also making some money off Eco conversions/rebuild market. Keep in mind through that alone, they forge relationships with RRs. That may suggest that there is a sales incentive for CP to buy SD70ACe-T4s because of how well the SD40-2 ECO rebuild program is going. Thats speculation on my part of course but having been in sales, the relationship is a critical aspect of the whole thing. CP tends to by fleets at a time, so we will see what happens when the traffic ticks up and the AC4400CW fleet, some of the older units on the road and most worn out, come to term for either rebuild or replacement. Last point, remember CP replaced the GE radial trucks back to hi-ad on a lot of newer units because of complications/maintenance costs/concerns. Even the newer GEVOs had truck swaps... not a good thing on a product of that size and scope at that age. 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, March 10, 2017 6:21 AM

I think it is very illuminating that all the Class I railroads buying power yet, though in limited total numbers, are buying every Tier 3 Credit Unit they can get.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, March 10, 2017 12:36 PM
Why wouldn't they though? It's a proven design whereas the T4 units are less so...and they can only buy those credit units if they buy an equivalent number of T4 units.
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Posted by NorthWest on Friday, March 10, 2017 3:14 PM

20% cheaper, 5% better fuel economy, a known quantity... why not?

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Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, March 10, 2017 8:52 PM

YoHo1975 and Northwest, yes indeed! Clearly the railroads feel Tier 3 units are superior for a variety of very good reasons. Granted, Tier 4 regulations are targeted for specific emissions, but it sure seems counterintuitive that burning more fuel is a better outcome.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, March 10, 2017 10:12 PM

It's only counterintuitive if the extra fuel burned offsets the emissions improvement, but given the extreme reductions in NOx, 5% more fuel ends up meaning little. 

Plus, by encouraging them through lower costs to buy those units, the government also encourages them to get rid of, or rebuild to better emissions, older units.

For UP and BNSF, the CARB requirements alone make it make sense since that T3 unit is still superior from an emissions perspective to the Dash 9s, 70Ms and AC4400s they might use instead.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Saturday, March 11, 2017 7:21 AM

You think 5% more fuel doesn't cost more for a fleet.  Last year where I work we used just over 4.7 Million Gallons of ULSD to run our entire fleet for the year at an average cost of 2.50 a gallon for the year came to right around 11.7 Million dollars.  Now same fleet size fuel cost and miles but 5% more fuel burned would cost us 600 grand more that we have to cover before we can make a profit.  Now the engineers that made these things will claim only a 5% loss in fuel economy well real world and this is based off what happened in the OTR side the railroads are facing a 10% loss minimum in fuel economy.  That is what we had happen when EGR alone hit us way back in 2007.  If the Railroads ever get hammered with DPF with SCR look for a 20% on top of that for regens.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Saturday, March 11, 2017 11:25 PM
Who said ANYTHING about the cost of fuel? If you read what I wrote, you'll see I was discussing Emissions. It is counter intuitive that burning more fuel would lead to less emissions. The cost of Fuel isn't relevant to that discussion.
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Posted by RME on Sunday, March 12, 2017 10:47 AM

YoHo1975
It's only counterintuitive if the extra fuel burned offsets the emissions improvement, but given the extreme reductions in NOx, 5% more fuel ends up meaning little.

Most of the 'extra fuel being burned' is likely not related to NOx reduction, but to particulate reduction, which is a very different thing.  Hopefully Entropy and some others will discuss the specific technologies used to achieve the Tier 4 final NOx emissions vs. Tier 3, as my understanding of how NOx is reduced in compression-ignition engines is somewhat behind the times.

In the "old days" there had to be a reduction both in peak temperature and effective pressure to keep nitrogen oxidation minimized.  In diesels these translated into lower thermal efficiency for a given power-stroke expansion, hence (by extension) more sfc required for a given horsepower output.  But I don't see the increase in sfc just to achieve Tier 4 final NOx over Tier 3 to be in the range of that "5%", whereas I could easily believe that magnitude of increase if regeneration of large DPFs is being done with active fuel burn.

 

It is counterintuitive that burning more fuel would lead to less emissions.

Why? 

First, it depends on whether you're looking at absolute emissions in grams, or percentage emissions in something like g/hp/h (sorry for mixing units, but that's what you get in this modern world).  A standard which looks at lower emissions per stroke, in an engine which then has to make higher rpm to achieve original shp, unsurprisingly has 'lower emissions' by legal definition, but still may easily emit more pollutants per hour than an unmodified version.

Second, it depends on how you define 'emissions' (in a pejorative sense of 'pollutants' that need to be minimized).  In my opinion, particulates are a far worse human health hazard than the marginal increase of NOx between the mandated Tier 4 final level and, say, the stable minimum NOx level achievable in the EMD practical testing for the 710, or whatever the block letter is now.  So accepting higher emissions of CO2 in particular, in order to reduce particulates on a practical basis, may be an acceptable tradeoff in regulation.

One of the major problems in automobile-engine development has been to "optimize" all the different emissions and the technologies used to achieve them, notably attempts at a workable approach to EGR.  There's a certain similarity to the PTC mandate in that engineering that optimizes most of the emissions-standard 'basket' numbers may dramatically increase one or more of the others... and therefore the alternative is derating, and lower thermodynamic efficiency, or worse maintainability (which, let's face it, emissions bureaucrats don't really care about optimizing, or even addressing until it results in illegal levels of emissions, so it becomes a hidden unfunded mandate).  And then, on top of it all, there are drivability concerns (far more in the automotive world than the nearest equivalent, slow loading, in the locomotive world).  I am almost continually amazed at how well automotive engineers deal with this situation year by year.

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Sunday, March 12, 2017 9:07 PM

RME
I am almost continually amazed at how well automotive engineers deal with this situation year by year.
 

To quote the dry humor of law professor, auto enthusiast and blogger Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds, "This is the Twenty First Century."

During the 1960's, and apart from the "low-hanging fruit" of the PCV system of recycling the crankcase blowby gas into the intake, achieving adequate emission control from automobiles was thought to be impossible, especially to address the photochemical smog and everyone have a cold or sinus infection they never got over or worse in Southern California.  That is when people were thinking about dusting off the Doble patents to bring back condensing steam cars with flash boiler or gas turbines or Stiring engines or even electric cars -- electric cars, not for "peak oil" or "climate change" or "making better use of renewables" reasons but for point-source smog reasons.

What happened next was the invention of the catalytic converter and the transition to lead-free gasoline, which some in the auto industry thought would never happen, could never happen, it did happen, if not for the catalytic converter then for the concern about lead levels in people.  By the 70's, the thought was that these alternative engines would never get off the ground whereas the emissions from gasoline auto engines could be reduced.

But it was a near thing, the emission regs coming out of the Clean Air Act put the automakers into crisis mode, and 70's cars were awful from the standpoint of guzzling gas, even the newly introduced small cars to address the "oil crisis", and their power was feeble and they did odd things when you mashed on the gas pedal.

But then the electronics industry came up with cheap microprocessors, and the 3-way catalyst offered control over the challenging NOx emissions while at the same time restoring fuel economy, drivability, and even a little bit more performance in the bargain by the 1980's.  The auto companies also learned how to push on their suppliers to make multi-port fuel injection systems with air meters and exhaust-gas oxygen sensor feedback control a mass production item rather something only found on exotic, expensive cars.

In the mean time, there must have been a ton of engineering research over the years leading to the present time, done in-house at the auto companies and also in university labs, whose students in turn found employment at these companies upon graduation.  In the 70's, there was a lot of not-invented-here at the big car companies where they regarded research on their bread-and-butter product outside their walls as the crack pottery of independent inventors, in their estimation, but judging by the work on combustion taking place here at the U, the car companies must have figured out how to build the needed partnerships with the big research universities.

So we are not driving some tail-finned gas-turbine-powered flying Jetson's car as some had envisioned for today's time, and at some level cars are pretty much the way they were in the 1960's -- frameless monocoque construction (apart from frame-rail pickup trucks using 50's construction), cars largely made of steel, high-compression gasoline engine, and so on.  A person asleep since 1960 would notice that cars are style differently but might be disappointed how little they have changed.

But everyday cars have fuel injection, they are computer controlled, the tires are much, much better, the brakes are electronically enhanced.  There is also the accumulation of 40-50 years of incremental improvements made by the car companies engineering staffs and their academic research partners.  Emissions control was once thought unobtainable in the 60's and a panic situation in the 70's and at least for gasoline (not Diesels), a solved problem?  Improving fuel economy was thought impossible in the 70's, a panic in the 1980's, and maybe a panic today to meet Mr. Obama's fuel economy goals, but maybe some breathing space under Mr. Trump to get to where eventually we need to be? 

Many years have gone by now, we still have internal combustion automobiles, almost mostly, the challenges of pollution and dwindling oil supplies as well as the worries about CO2 affecting the climate have been around for a long time, and the engineers have been hard at work over that long time.  The automobile is also enough of a mass-market item that the funding for that hard work could be spread over many individual automobile sales.

The problem with the Diesel electric locomotive is that it is a much smaller market the funds a much smaller engineering effort, and maybe the thought was "the millions and millions of cars make smog, who is going to worry about a few thousand railroad locomotives", and especially EMD got caught in "panic time" meeting Tier 4.  The Tier 4 locomotives (along with the OTR truck engines also subject to these rules) are like the 70's cars?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Sunday, March 12, 2017 9:27 PM

What I could probably say in fewer words is that on one hand you have those who argue that the government shouldn't mandate anything and others who say that not only should the government mandate things, governmental regulators shouldn't listen the the complaints of the corporate world about the things to be mandated being so very hard to do.

Some things cannot be done -- Mr. Nixon declared a "War on Cancer".  Treatments have improved, but the suffering inflicted by cancer remains part of the human condition.  Other things can be done, but they are perhaps unnecessarily difficult if put on a "Manhatten Project" crash program basis but given enough time, like 40 years instead of a mere 4 years for engineers to practice their craft, it gets done.  No one is talking about electric cars anymore as a necessity of addressing the California smog problem.  I guess the emissions of gasoline engines in automobiles is a "solved problem" -- all the talk about electric cars is now addressing concerns of either running out of oil, or of not running out of oil and affecting global climate through burning that much oil, emitting CO2 in the process.

But whether it is railroad PTC, Tier 4, or whatever, having the government "push for" a solution on a short timeline is not always the best answer.  Like the age-old joke, there are certain timelines you cannot accelerate by assigning more personnel to the activity.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by YoHo1975 on Sunday, March 12, 2017 11:33 PM
I should clarify that I think it's pretty much counterintuitive to a layman that a locomotive meeting tier 4 would burn more fuel than one meeting tier 3. Not that it is such to someone with knowledge of internal combustion engines and emissions control. Do we really think the Tier 4 locomotives represent something not sufficiently successful such that we need more engineer years to get to the "solution?" not saying there aren't better solutions to be engineered, but I don't think this is a 70s panic either as Paul described. EMD's problems getting to T4 were likely as much management churn and over reliance on their engine design than anything else. I still think its an interesting counterfactual to ponder what EMD R&D would have been capable had they not been subject to feckless management from GM, then Greenbrier and finally Cat. What could they have done with support and consistency?
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Posted by Paul of Covington on Monday, March 13, 2017 11:51 AM

  Thumbs Up Thank you Paul Milenkovic for your discussions above.Thumbs Up

   Throughout these tier 4 discussions  I've been remembering how cars were in the '70's.   Cars with 400 cu. in. engines got about 8 MPH and would hardly move when you stepped on the gas.   They worked it out eventually.

_____________

   It may be true that hard work never killed anyone, but why take the chance?

RME
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Posted by RME on Monday, March 13, 2017 12:33 PM

Paul Milenkovic
But whether it is railroad PTC, Tier 4, or whatever, having the government "push for" a solution on a short timeline is not always the best answer.

It also depends very much on how the solution is defined.  In the instant case of locomotive Tier 4 final standards, it might be observed that EMD missed being able to meet the NOx standard without SCR/urea on the 710 family by about 0.3%.  Considering the absolute emission contribution of NOx from locomotive hours operating in the 'excess' part of operation, only a small percentage of an already small number of grams, and the substantial cost in many respects for EMD to design something to achieve it, I have to wonder if adjusting the standard to match engineering reality is something the government should have 'listened to'.  It's not that different from setting the national speed limit at 'double nickels' and then providing weasel incentives for speed-trap local enforcement when it would have been both easier and more sensible at 100km/h.

As noted, if there had not been a considerable amount of convergent evolution in other tech fields, meeting 'lower pollution' standards would probably still be impossible for practical, maintainable IC automobile engines that meet typical US-American expectations for driveability.  I well remember two sets of research: stratified-charge enrichment for practical lean-burn, and the application of high static electrical charge to the fuel plume to facilitate carburetion and decrease wetting-out.  Remarkable what modern hard coatings, digital injection control, and the like make easy.

There is a related point: when the government provides a market-based carrot-and-stick, as with the progressive regulation of atmocatalytic CFCs by increasing the effective 'tax' on the material dramatically.  I'm still expecting massive raise in the government motor-fuel tax once the various kinds of plug-in hybrid/BEVs have trickled down to mainstream availability...

One point about 'crash program' development -- it works much better if truly multidisciplinary, as the full "Manhattan Project" was (consider Keller's method of plating the diffusion-plant piping, or much of the separation chemistry) or it contains good systems analysis (the canonical example when I was in business school was Polaris, but perhaps a better one was the B-70/WS-125 program) that PERTs out all the necessary parts of making the solution.  The point with respect to automotive pollution equipment is that no single automotive manufacturer in the late '60s had the ability to do a crash military-type interdisciplinary research effort to design precise induction for full combustion in service, or to manufacture the solution cost-effectively once done.  It's only in a world where build quality is more valued systematically (post-Deming via the Japanese) and cars previously sold for $1995 now go for north of $14,000, that the idea of meeting high CAFE standards became workable at all.  You will note that steam power, despite clear emissions benefits, never did gain a toehold even in the regulated market.

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