Biodiesel Locomotive Test Leads Railroad Industry

Iowa Interstate Railroad Locomotive
Iowa Interstate Railroad is leading the railroad industry by testing biodiesel in selected locomotives.
(cc) Christopher Esposito

The Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa recently announced it has begun testing B10 and B20 biodiesel blends. Biodiesel is supplied by Renewable Energy Group (REG), a nationwide biodiesel producer and marketer.

As part of the study, REG, IAIS, and Kansas University are measuring wear and tear on movable engine parts, horsepower ratings, and emissions.

“We hope this biodiesel blend demonstration will serve as the tipping point for the rail industry’s use of renewable fuels. We expect to find reduced diesel particulate matter and carbon emissions as well as improved lubricity with the use of biodiesel,” explained REG’s vice president of customer and service technical, Myron Danzer. “We appreciate Iowa Interstate’s industry leadership and look forward to continuing to help reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil in partnerships like this one.”

In June 2009, IAIS began using a B10 blend in the Council Bluffs Yard. The blend level was increased to B20 beginning in September. In December, the locomotive will switch back to straight diesel fuel to complete the comparative analysis. After every fuel change, an engine analysis is done.

“This partnership is fitting as IAIS serves several of the biodiesel plants in the REG network by transporting large volumes of our REG-9000 biodiesel nationwide. For IAIS to burn the biodiesel they haul is a prime example of “going green,” Danzer added.

IAIS President & CEO Dennis H. Miller added, “Our company has been looking at biodiesel as an alternative to diesel fuel for some time. This could open the door for over 600 other railroads to have another source of fuel to use in their locomotives that burns cleaner and is environmentally friendly. It is also another value added market to Iowa farmers and the Ag industry by providing another use for their products.”

Renewable Energy Group is a leader in the biodiesel industry by offering a complete biodiesel solution. Committed to redefining quality, Renewable Energy Group markets REG-9000 biodiesel, which exceeds ASTM quality specifications, through existing nationwide diesel infrastructure, including more than 20 terminal locations.

REG-9000 biodiesel is marketed through large petroleum companies and fuel distributors, and is utilized by on highway fleets, municipalities, and power generator, mining, military, home heating, and agriculture applications.

REG-9000 biodiesel is produced by REG network production facilities consisting of state-of-the-art, proprietary multiple-feedstock technology. Renewable Energy Group offers procurement and risk management, production operations, and technology services in addition to alternative feedstock research and commercialization.

Founded in 1984, Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. is a regional rail carrier operating over 600 miles between Omaha, Nebraska, and Chicago, Illinois, with connections to all major Class 1 carriers. Its headquarters are located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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