Rail Power Sustainability IntelliConference
How can the North American freight rail system best transition to a sustainable world that no longer uses petroleum diesel fuel?
- What does ‘sustainable’ mean in the context of rail motive power?
- What dynamics have to be considered when using multiple motive technologies across the system?
- What funding resources are currently available for each motive power choice?
- What funding resources might be made available for each motive power choice?
- What public incentives are currently available for uptake of new power choices?
- What public incentives might be made available for uptake of new power choices?
- When will reductions in the availability of diesel fuel necessitate changes to the rail industry’s supply choices?
- How might the United States’ National Labs support the uptake of new motive power choices?
- What are the potential biodiesel feedstocks and production methods that might be useful as a motive power choice?
- What has been the performance experience of previous use of biodiesel for rail motive power?
- What are the production challenges of supplying biodiesel fuel to the rail industry?
- What are the logistical challenges of supplying biodiesel fuel to the rail industry?
- What performance evidence do railroad mechanical personnel need to specify biodiesel at higher percentage blending with petroleum diesel, especially in cold climates?
- What grants and subsidies are available for railroad use of biodiesel?
Internal Combustion with Compressed Natural Gas
- Given the costs of locomotive conversion, fuel tender acquisition, loss of revenue car space, and fueling station construction, what are the overall financial ramifications of natural gas?
- What federal subsidies (CMAQ, etc.) are available to pay for conversion costs?
- How can infrastructure costs (e.g. – condensing and fueling stations at intermodal transload facilities) be shared with other entities?
- How much gas leakage during transportation, storage, and fueling is acceptable?
- What has been the prior experience of railroads with using compressed natural gas?
- Are fuel cells an overly complex technology for locomotives?
- What is the environmental impact of hydrogen derived from natural gas?
- How can hydrogen infrastructure developed for other freight modes be useful to rail?
- Who can build new fuel cell locomotives?
- Where does steam locomotive power fit in modern railroading?
- How does a potential modern steam locomotive differ from historic models?
Electrification – General Questions
- What is the per gallon price of diesel that would make electrification an obvious economic choice?
- How can the FRA’s Transportation Technology Center, Inc. facilitate the exploration, selection, and certification of technologies and manufacturers?
- What can we learn from the history of rail electrification?
- What can we learn from rail electrification in other countries?
- How do the operating costs (besides fuel) compare with diesel locomotives?
- How much faster are electric locomotives and what difference does that make in track capacity?
- How much lifecycle emissions reduction is gained from the use of electric locomotives?
- How many fewer all-electric locos can be used compared to the same train using diesel-electric power?
- How much cheaper is electricity as a motive fuel?
- What effect will electrification have on ECP brake implementation?
- How can locomotives be designed to take advantage of regenerative braking, vibration harvesting, and other waste energy capture methods?
- What models of locomotives are candidates for conversion?
- What companies can perform the conversions?
- What battery technologies are best attuned to railroad use, both on-board and trackside?
- How can power suitable for locomotives be drawn from very high voltage transmission lines?
- What are the costs and construction implications of each power delivery method, i.e., overhead wire, third rail, induction from buried cable, etc.?
- What is the experience with overhead catenary suffering pole and wire damage from shifted loads, damaged railcars, and derailments?
- How does the use of battery powered locomotives impact the need for catenary?
- What are the lifecycle economics of using composite catenary poles versus steel poles?
- What is the experience with double-stacked containers and other taller railcars clearing catenary?
Electric Grid Synergy
- What are the needs of the electric industry for new transmission corridors?
- What are the practical questions that have to be answered to evaluate co-location of new transmission lines along rail rights-of-way?
- How will rail electrification help to expand the viability of new remote renewable power generation?
- What is the value of grid-connected idle switching (and road) locomotives offering peak shaving, line conditioning, backup electric power, and grid resiliency?
- What potential benefits to trackside communities could be available from access to higher voltage transmission lines?
- What other transportation components could use improved access to electric power such as reefer units and crossing signals?
- What catenary installation techniques will North America require that are different from international state-of-the-art?
- What portion of the North American rail network should be electrified?
- How are target sections determined?
- How should electrification be staged?
- How will electrification coexist with residual diesel-powered segments?
- What companies can build the machines that build the catenary?
- How should we assess the Benefit-Cost Analysis difference between catenary and battery/hybrid?
- How much of the power delivery infrastructure would electric transmission providers fund?
- How can the remaining infrastructure costs be funded?
- How much and which electrification expenses should be borne by government?
- What current Federal sources might be utilized for funding this conversion?
- What new funding approaches can be established for new locomotives?
- What new funding approaches can be established for construction?
Hybrid and Pure Electric Vehicles and Maintenance Equipment
- How do hybrid or pure-electric drivetrains compare in TOC with ICE-only drivetrains?
- What battery technology is or will be sufficient for providing power during a full work shift?