Transportation solutions provider Wabtec has collaborated with freight transportation firm BNSF Railway to conduct a biofuel pilot as part of their efforts to accelerate sustainability in the railway sector.

The effect of alternative fuels on Wabtec locomotives’ emissions, durability, and performance are expected to be quantified through the biofuel project.

Wabtec fleet innovation and transformation division group vice-president Bob Bremmer said: “The rail industry is intently focused on reducing its environmental footprint by exploring emerging technologies.

“Biofuels provide a unique near-term opportunity to have a significant impact on reducing carbon intensity.”

During the second quarter of 2022, the companies will commence the biofuel trial.

Performance of biodiesel (B20) and renewable diesel (R55) in revenue service on Wabtec Tier 3 and Tier 4 Evolution Series locomotives in California, US will thereafter be demonstrated.

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By GlobalData

The locomotives between Barstow and Los Angeles, California will be run by BNSF.

BNSF Railway environment and sustainability vice president John Lovenburg said: “Wabtec continues to be a good innovation partner for us. Last year, we piloted the first battery-electric freight locomotive in North America.”

For its locomotive engines, Wabtec already has the nod to use a 5% biodiesel (B5) and 30% renewable diesel (R30) blend.

Biofuel is said to be a ‘domestically produced’ and ‘clean-burning’ alternative for petroleum diesel.

In January last year, BNSF Railway and Wabtec started the trial of battery-electric locomotives in revenue service between Stockton and Barstow, California.