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Westport Innovations has delivered the first of four LNG tenders ordered by Canadian National (CN) to Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD, which is developing a pilot low-pressure LNG-diesel dual-fuel locomotive for the Class I railroad. For the project, EMD is retrofitting SD70ACe and SD70M-2 3.2MW locomotives, which meet US EPA Tier III emission standards, and will utilize parent company Caterpillar’s Dynamic Gas Blending technology. A 12,000+ gallon ISO LNG tank, which is 40 foot-long and is fitted to a 48 foot intermodal well wagon, will hold the LNG, which will be vaporized in the tender, avoiding the need for the cryogenic liquid to be carried across a coupler. The ISO LNG tender can fuel either a single or dual locomotive formation and offer comparable power ratings and range to diesel-powered locomotives. Brian Dracup, Wesport’s senior director of rail, says this particular LNG project will have a 60-to-80 percent LNG use rate, and has the advantage of converting to 100 diesel if required. Adopting LNG could offer Class I’s a 30-to-50 percent fuel savings per locomotive, or roughly $250,000 to $450,00 per year, based on average fuel consumption of 1.14 million gallons per year.

LaGrange, Ill.-based EMD is expected to carry out stationary testing of the LNG- powered locomotive during the next few months ahead of CN’s pilot line testing program, which is due to begin this summer. Westport Innovations will deliver the three remaining LNG tenders by the end of the second quarter. The low-pressure project is a companion project to the application of Westport’s high-pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology to a SD70M-2 locomotive, which is supported by the Sustainable Development Technology Canada, a Canadian government-backed initiative that aims to commercialize emerging clean technologies. This scheme is again being developed in partnership with EMD and CN along with Gaz Métro Transport Metro Solutions (GMTS) and aims to provide a 95:5 percent LNG:diesel fuel ratio.