California formally petitions for zero-emissions locomotives

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Posted by RDG467 on Thursday, October 26, 2017 9:55 AM

Just ran across this thread today during a search and wanted to throw in a few thoughts. 

1.  So Cal is a very 'dirty' area because of geography, congestion and the environment.  The following statement has not been vetted by any scientific authority, but imho & experience,  the phrase 'It never rains in Southern California.' has a big effect on particulate matter. It rarely gets 'washed' out of the air by regular rainfall. Look at any patterned concrete surface, or most of the cars in the area which don't get regular washes. Lot's o' dirt on lotsa stuff.

2. CARB's rationale for Tier 5 is to 'protect' the health of communities near the railyards in CA due to locomotive emissions. If that it truly their goal, why not design and implement large air filtering stations that would suck the air from over the yards and run them through electrostatic precipitators.  CARB could design and implement them much faster than any possible emissions reductions from locomotives to be built in the next decade. 

3. Obviously, my idea of filtering stations would make it difficult to monitor the actual *effects* of those stations, but who can accurately model how much of the polution comes from trains or trucks in those areas?

4. If idea #2 is impractical, geo-engineer the LA Basin/Central Valley to have more frequent cleansing rainstorms. The Air Force already knows how to do that.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, October 26, 2017 1:58 PM

1.  Seems to be a push for Electric motors for the RRs in California ?  But you still have the emissions from power plants. 

2.  Until California requires trucks who polute more per ton  mile now why in the world take on RRs,  Better get the trucks off the roads and onto inermodal as much as possible. 

3.  This proposal seems counter productive ?

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Posted by DSchmitt on Thursday, October 26, 2017 5:51 PM
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 12:11 PM

Here in Niagara Falls we had a whole yard called Niagara Junctiion that was eletrofied untill 1979-

 

It's really convenient  to be in the vicinity of major hydroelectic plants

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, October 27, 2017 12:42 AM
Ca has abundant wind and solar potential along with lots of legacy hydro. And Natural gas plants are far less poluting than Coal or Diesel vehicles. They can be located more opportunistically. There was an excellent article on Vox.com about battery power busses and how there's a high likelihood of that technology hitting an inflection-point and taking off. The buses themselves are getting there now. Were I CARB, I'd probably focus in on incentivizing Ca communities to switch the transit fleet to these technologies than worry about the incremental improvements to Diesel combustion emissions. Sure, Tier V is a laudable goal inabsentia, but the efforts spent there might be better directed elsewhere.
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, October 27, 2017 2:13 AM

YoHo1975
Were I CARB, I'd probably focus in on incentivizing CA communities to switch the transit fleet to these technologies than worry about the incremental improvements to Diesel combustion emissions.

I suspect, with CARB, battery buses wouldn't be an 'either-or' priority; I get the impression that most of the current approach concerning locomotives is a combination of 'we can do it so we can' legislation (possibly incorporating perceived 'fairness' in extending the same tight restrictions on NOx to locomotives that are deemed necessary for the far-greater-volume road-vehicle segment) and concern for yard or other emissions (probably driven substantially by solicitous political concern for all those potential voters living downwind of service facilities or yards)

I don't know the extent to which a zero-emission push would involve recognition of the nanoparticulate issue, which is certainly something that deserves better understanding 'at the CARB level' than it seems to have received so far.  To my knowledge no existing DPF is capable of reducing these emissions more than incidentally, and while somewhat ironically I think they could be pyrolyzed (or more properly perhaps 'combusted' during regen, there isn't any other time they can be reduced or eliminated prior to exhaust to atmosphere.

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Posted by RDG467 on Friday, October 27, 2017 7:06 AM

blue streak 1

1.  Seems to be a push for Electric motors for the RRs in California ?  But you still have the emissions from power plants. 

2.  Until California requires trucks who polute more per ton  mile now why in the world take on RRs,  Better get the trucks off the roads and onto inermodal as much as possible. 

3.  This proposal seems counter productive ?

It's fun to read the CARB request letter, which references the 'overburdened communities' near railyards, and then look at the study they commissioned from the University of Illionois Urbana-Champaign for ideas to further reduce emissions in the So Cal Air Basin (SCAB). They purposely avoid switching and local locomotives to focus on long haul freight. 

For the purposes of the study, 'zero-emissions' means 'zero emissions in the SCAB'. If they're emitted somewhere else, that's not our problem.

The study estimates costs for a dedicated fleet of Tier IV, Tier IV with aftertreatment, Battery Tenders (to store energy lost in dynamic braking) and Mag-Lev locos, along with electrifying the 600+ track miles in the Basin vs a baseline of Tier II diesels.

One idea is to swap out locomotives entering and leaving the basin area with Ultra-Low/No Emission locos dedicated to SCAB use.  Why, we'd only need 6000 locos to cover all the trains!  At 3.5 million each! What a bargain at $21 Billion.  Along with new yards to swap out the power (costs not estimated). And new shops in the SCAB dedicated for those pretty units ($100 Mill each for BNSF & UP).  But wait....at a minimum of two hours to swap power on each train (in a perfect world), time-sensitive intermodal might switch to trucks in the SCAB.  Hmmmmm, that might mean MORE diesel emissions.  

Electrification infrastructure was estimated at $31 B, with a guesstimated cost of $5 M each for electric freight motors. 

The report does have some interesting analysis of frieght patterns to/from So Cal.  I'll have to re-read that section (or you can follow the link from CARB's site) for more details.

 

 

Or, we (meaning you, the RR's, NOT CARB) can spend 31 Billion, plus electric freight units, for electrification. 

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Friday, October 27, 2017 8:03 AM

Now you see why I hate dealing with Bearucrats in general.  They come up with some of the most outrageous demands and studies to make their points look good on paper then go your industry is going to have to pay for it all.  I laugh when I read the news off the east coast somedays.  Anyone see De Blaso's latest fiat to come down.  No deliveries in Downtown NYC during business hours at all.  Just when are the resturants and grocers going to get their deliveries then Bill.  Most food service companies I know take product in during the day load it up at night and ship it out on their trucks the next few days to their customers.  Sure throw a monkey wrench in all of the logistics train for NYC and see how fast you can screw it up.

 

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, October 27, 2017 10:15 AM
I think I've mentioned it before, but if not, I live in Roseville, most assuredly one of those burdened communities. And I can confirm that the Diesel exhaust is a distinct burden (though, there's also the tree pollen and the yearly Rice paddy burn and assorted wildfires. If I were siting a city/suburb based on human allergy issues, Roseville WOULD NEVER be considered. :) In any case, I used to live about a mile (by walking distance, less as the crow flies) from the Roseville Shops/train station. The misery my family and I felt during hot summer days was pretty debilitating. All of which lessened when we moved further from the yards.
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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Friday, October 27, 2017 12:35 PM

Current EPA emissions for a OTR truck is .2 grams per hp per hour of NOX.  For a passenger car it is .4 grams per hour which are there more of in CA cars or trucks.  Locomotives have a limit of 1.3 grams per hour that was our Tier 3 limit.  Now instead of going after the vechiles that move the cargo how about addressing the cars for once.  They have not seen any emissions reduction in 10 years.    

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Posted by DSchmitt on Friday, October 27, 2017 12:56 PM

YoHo1975
Ca has abundant wind and solar potential along with lots of legacy hydro. And Natural gas plants are far less poluting than Coal or Diesel vehicles. They can be located more opportunistically. There was an excellent article on Vox.com about battery power busses and how there's a high likelihood of that technology hitting an inflection-point and taking off. The buses themselves are getting there now. Were I CARB, I'd probably focus in on incentivizing Ca communities to switch the transit fleet to these technologies than worry about the incremental improvements to Diesel combustion emissions. Sure, Tier V is a laudable goal inabsentia, but the efforts spent there might be better directed elsewhere.
 

 

California used to have the lowest (or close) electricy prices in the US.  Now thanks to an ill concieved push to for solar and wind and the pricing structure mandated by the government, the price is outrges and among the highest. 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by RDG467 on Friday, October 27, 2017 1:15 PM

Tier IV units haven't fully gotten into widespread use yet and this woman is crying for Tier V without a lot of proof that it will make much difference in the 7% (est) of NOx provided by the entire rail freight industry in the SCAB, as cited in the letter to the EPA.

 To be fair, she wants the regulations to be effective in 2025. Stick out tongue Didn't EMD have to essentially stop selling new locos for 2 years to meet Tier IV?  Dropping NOx from 1.3 to 0.2 (proposed), Particulates from 0.03 to <0.01 and HC from 0.14 to 0.02 doesn't seem like a simple thing to do, given the reductions required for Tier IV.

That's one of the reasons that it may be worth designing and testing some large air filtration systems that could gather the bulk of the emissions near their source. This might help address some of the unique challenges of shoving 13+ Million people into a desert bowl near the ocean......

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Posted by RDG467 on Friday, October 27, 2017 1:40 PM

Forgot to add that there were other studies referenced in the letter about the effects on the local overburdened communities, but I haven't read those yet.  Particulates less than 2.5 nanometers are also discussed briefly.  I think they are finer than what a standard HEPA filter can reliably trap. There's mention of a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) filter, which I'm assuming is the equivalent of the catalytic converter on automobiles. They sound very maintenance-intensive and troublesome for locomotive applications, based on a quick net search.

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Posted by erikem on Friday, October 27, 2017 10:57 PM

The Southern California Regional Rail Authority held a number of meetings in  1991-92 in regrads to a proposal by Southern California Edison (SCE) to electrify the main lines in the SCAB to reduce air pollution. SCE stated that the electrification could be done for $80 million and the RR's, including Metrolink and NCTD, thought that estimate was ridiculously low. The final estimate by the SCRRA committee was $4 billion, with half of the costs due to increasing clearances at highway overcrossings to allow the 50kV contact wire to clear double stacks.

Seems to me that battery technology has advanced to the point that it would be feasible to use battery power to pull through areas with insuffiecient vertical clearance for a live contact wire.

To reduce pollution from switchers, I would propose switchers with ultracapacitors to reduce rapid changes in prime mover power. With regenerative braking, the fuel savings could potentially pay for the costs of the ultracaps - cycle life times energy stored divided by cost works out to $0.05/kwhr.

OTOH, this is a lot of effort for what is a small contribution to the overall air pollution. As for pm2.5, I wonder how much is coming from tire and brake wear.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, October 27, 2017 11:00 PM

DSchmitt

 

 
YoHo1975
Ca has abundant wind and solar potential along with lots of legacy hydro. And Natural gas plants are far less poluting than Coal or Diesel vehicles. They can be located more opportunistically. There was an excellent article on Vox.com about battery power busses and how there's a high likelihood of that technology hitting an inflection-point and taking off. The buses themselves are getting there now. Were I CARB, I'd probably focus in on incentivizing Ca communities to switch the transit fleet to these technologies than worry about the incremental improvements to Diesel combustion emissions. Sure, Tier V is a laudable goal inabsentia, but the efforts spent there might be better directed elsewhere.
 

 

 

 

California used to have the lowest (or close) electricy prices in the US.  Now thanks to an ill concieved push to for solar and wind and the pricing structure mandated by the government, the price is outrges and among the highest. 

 

 

I'd very much disagree with the concept of Illconceived. But certainly the Renewables push has caused an excess of new construction that has caused issues with the energy market. But the deregulation of the system and subsequent crisis also played an outsized role. 

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Saturday, October 28, 2017 4:13 AM

erikem
Seems to me that battery technology has advanced to the point that it would be feasible to use battery power to pull through areas with insuffiecient vertical clearance for a live contact wire.

I think the momentum of the train would help a lot. In Europe the trains can be powerless up to about one minute when changing from one voltage system to a different one.
Regards, Volker

 

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, October 28, 2017 5:13 AM

erikem
The final estimate by the SCRRA committee was $4 billion, with half of the costs due to increasing clearances at highway overcrossings to allow the 50kV contact wire to clear double stacks.

What were the SCRRA estimates for more sensible overhead voltages (say, 25kV and 12.5kV)?  This was well enough after the Conrail dual-mode experiment to allow third rail for 'gap filling' at overcrossings; the potential use of third rail or side contact has only increased since then with the adoption of AC inverter drive using a relatively low-voltage DC link voltage.  Could it be time to 'revisit' this timeless topic?

Seems to me that battery technology has advanced to the point that it would be feasible to use battery power to pull through areas with insuffiecient vertical clearance for a live contact wire.

It has, and not just in terms of Li-ion stacks.  The problem is that by the time you have implemented the necessary stack capacity on a locomotive, and whatever charging and conditioning means you use to have adequate voltage and amp-hr capacity when needed, you've paid an enormous amount for relatively little practical use.  Personally, I don't see the use unless the stack is also used for hybrid purposes, possibly involving reducing some of the pollutants from the engine in regular service.

One of the possible advantages of the 'third rail' approach is that it can use some of the wayside-storage developments to enable 'trickle' (or as-needed) energy storage for the fairly brief and intermittent draws involved; this in turn might help with peak-demand issues in periods of greatest grid 'stress'.  There are no effective packaging, weight, or redundant-installation penalties for wayside as there are on locomotives.

To reduce pollution from switchers, I would propose switchers with ultracapacitors to reduce rapid changes in prime mover power. With regenerative braking, the fuel savings could potentially pay for the costs of the ultracaps - cycle life times energy stored divided by cost works out to $0.05/kwhr. OTOH, this is a lot of effort for what is a small contribution to the overall air pollution.

It's a lot of effort for comparatively little gain, but the same could be said of solar or wind as a percentage of actual peak demand.  The issue is more whether California authorities would pay for the R&D and implementation costs out of public money, or assure their cost recovery via meaningful incentives or tax abatements, rather than the typical obey-the-unfunded-mandate-or-else approach.

My personal belief is that the primary power ought to be in rechargeable battery systems feeding ultracaps, and the ultracaps in turn acting as 'charging buffers' for high-rate regenerative braking at the end of 'kicks', but that's not saying I would argue with ultracaps alone if that's what was proposed.

As for pm2.5, I wonder how much is coming from tire and brake wear.

The nanoparticulate problem is a particular issue related to the physics inside high-speed direct-injection engines; I was surprised and not at all delighted to find out the emissions from GDI engines are comparable to diesels.  I doubt there is any component of tire wear that produces very small yet chemically active suspended particulates in the atmosphere; I also doubt that even if there is still measurable asbestos dissemination into the atmosphere from brake dust, it 'makes it' in biologically active form into the lungs, let alone causes DNA degradation over time as blue asbestos fibers might.

Of course, unless something has changed fairly recently, the 'official' California PM standard doesn't really address nanoparticulates at all, just the sort of thing they were using smoke-opacity meters at on-ramps to measure 'back in the day'.  Look for the real howling to begin when they recognize they'll have to restrict nanoparticulates to be consistent ... and then realize how few options they have to practically achieve that.

[I am not sure that even fairly large 'local' air-purification stations employing a relatively enormous electrical-energy consumption for electrostatic purification and subsequent capture will be technically capable of reducing effective nanoparticulate levels.  It is certain at this point that practical road-vehicle-borne particulate filters will not.  Whether a locomotive, or road slug in a dedicated consist, can carry the necessary media and ancillary equipment to accomplish filtering of its own consist's particulates remains to be seen, but it makes practical EGR look like a kindergartner's problem.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, October 28, 2017 9:28 AM

Intersting article on what it would take to replace gasoline-powered cars with electric cars in terms of infrastructure to keep them moving.

http://www.insidesources.com/what-will-it-cost-for-california-to-replace-gas-stations-with-charging-stations/

It is offered here only due to the fact that mention was made further back in the thread to the effect that if CARB is really serious and wants to make a difference, they should be going after the larger targets of road vehicles as railroad locomotives are a drop in the bucket in the whole range of emissions.

 

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Saturday, October 28, 2017 10:11 AM

The reason why nanoparticles have not been demanded yet is even the scientists at CARB have determined there is no way to physically remove them from exhaust that can be used that will not result in all companies telling CARB and the state of CA to basically CA being left a wasteland.

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Posted by erikem on Saturday, October 28, 2017 6:38 PM

Overmod

 

 
erikem
The final estimate by the SCRRA committee was $4 billion, with half of the costs due to increasing clearances at highway overcrossings to allow the 50kV contact wire to clear double stacks.

 

What were the SCRRA estimates for more sensible overhead voltages (say, 25kV and 12.5kV)?  This was well enough after the Conrail dual-mode experiment to allow third rail for 'gap filling' at overcrossings; the potential use of third rail or side contact has only increased since then with the adoption of AC inverter drive using a relatively low-voltage DC link voltage.  Could it be time to 'revisit' this timeless topic?

 

IIRC, the 50 kV was predicated on some trains having 20,000 to 30,000HP, which would be about 1,000A at 25kV. Since skin rears its really ugly head with ferromagnetic conductors, the voltage drop in the return rails at 60Hz is probably not much less than the drop in the catenary.

A possible solution may be to go to a moderately high voltage DC, say 10kV making use of the work being done on "solid state transformers" for distribution work (these use SiC IGBTs rated for 10 to 15kV to convert 60Hz to high frequency, then back to 60Hz). Since electrolysis is a major pain with DC electrifcation, one work-around would be to swap polarities every few seconds as the solid state transformer would be able to accomodate the change in polarity.

Seems to me that battery technology has advanced to the point that it would be feasible to use battery power to pull through areas with insuffiecient vertical clearance for a live contact wire.

 

It has, and not just in terms of Li-ion stacks.  The problem is that by the time you have implemented the necessary stack capacity on a locomotive, and whatever charging and conditioning means you use to have adequate voltage and amp-hr capacity when needed, you've paid an enormous amount for relatively little practical use.  Personally, I don't see the use unless the stack is also used for hybrid purposes, possibly involving reducing some of the pollutants from the engine in regular service.

Note I was referring to use of batteries in an electric locomotive. Assuming a 4MW draw and charge/discharge at a 1C rate, this would imply about 4MW-hr battery capacity - perhaps about $1,000,000 with current prices for battery assemblies. This would allow for several minutes of full power operation with de-energized wires.

One of the nice things about the EV boom is that there is a large and growing infrastructure for EV battery systems, which include battery management system electronics and battery thermal control systems.

I'm also assuming that the traction motors will be AC fed by a variable frequency drive, where said drive runs off of a constant voltage bus and that the batteries would be setp to run at the inverter bus voltage.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Sunday, October 29, 2017 12:28 AM

kgbw49

Intersting article on what it would take to replace gasoline-powered cars with electric cars in terms of infrastructure to keep them moving.

http://www.insidesources.com/what-will-it-cost-for-california-to-replace-gas-stations-with-charging-stations/

It is offered here only due to the fact that mention was made further back in the thread to the effect that if CARB is really serious and wants to make a difference, they should be going after the larger targets of road vehicles as railroad locomotives are a drop in the bucket in the whole range of emissions.

 

 

 

This article made me angry. The premise that gas stations would need to be replaced 1:1 in an all electric (non self driving vehicle) future is ridiculous on it's face. Consider that the vast majority of personal vehicles will be spending 8+ hours sitting on a charger while the owners sleep and some large portion of city transit vehicles would too. A 300 mile range more than covers the 90% daily case so 9 times out of 10 you would never need a commerical charging station at all. And vehicles being used by those that work could also long term charge at the parking lots they are at during the day. 

Odds are very good that there won't be local charging stantions structured like gas stations but rather nearly every place a car might stop for an extended period would be a charging location often with solar and probably designed for standard charge rates. It's purely opportunistic.

 

The only challenge remaining then is true long distance. 300miles per charge will get you close to SF-LA/Sac-LA but not quite there. And consumers buy vehicles based on their occasional maximal distance need versus their regular need (it often would make more sense to buy for the primary need and rent a vehicle for the occasional need) My suspicion is that vehichles designed for that distance whether fleet or personal will employ a more genericized easily swapped battery infrastructure. so rather than charged, the batteries are simply exchanged...like getting a new tank of propane at the walmart. 

 

 

Now, all of the above is scrapped if we move to a more on demand self driving/uber future where personal car ownership drops. But even then the cars would likely not need to be active for more than the article's stated 300 mile charge.

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