Implementing Sustainable Locomotive Traction Technology Options Environmental Sciences Essay

This paper reviews normally known locomotor grip engineerings for sustainable execution under the possible acceptance of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme ( CPRS ) by the current Australian Government. The engineerings of involvement within this reappraisal are bio-fuels and intercrossed engines. Bio-fuels seem to be a possible substitute/additive for Diesel in railroad engines. Issues sing sustainability and costs ( capital and operational ) hinder the commercialisation of bio-fuels nevertheless unless the authorities provides appropriate inducements to promote their utilizations. For intercrossed engines, most of the engineerings except regenerative braking are in developing phases, meaning the issue of proficient feasibleness. As a consequence, no costs ( capital and operational ) and nursery gas emanation degrees for these engineerings exist for an economic analysis.

Regenerative braking engineering, in rule, has possible applications on cargo and rider trains that have intercrossed power systems. The chief concern of regenerative braking is the sum of energy that can be recovered which translates into cost nest eggs from improved end product efficiency and lower nursery gas emanations. However, the aggregation of relevant informations for regenerative braking remains a job, thereby restricting the utility of an economic survey.This paper reviews normally known locomotor grip engineerings for execution given the possibility of an acceptance of a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme ( CPRS ) by the Australian Government. The actions of the Australian authorities with respect to climate alteration are examined in the following subdivision. Following this is an account of the possible impact generated by the authorities ‘s action on the railroad industry.

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The paper so reviews the assorted locomotor grip engineerings that could cut down C emanations and better efficiency which will be of involvement to railway operators. Finally, decisions are presented.


In 2007, the Australian Government ratified the Kyoto Protocol[ 1 ], perpetrating to cut down nursery gas ( GHG ) emanations to 25 per centum below 2000 degrees by 2020 and at least 60 per centum below 2000 degrees by 2050. To set forth their committedness into action, the Australian Government is contemplating the debut of a CPRS.

The CPRS is an emanation trading strategy that uses a cap and trade mechanism, of which the cap will be reduced in future old ages to accomplish its emanation mark degrees.The Australian Government believes that the CPRS is the cheapest and most effectual manner of undertaking clime alteration ( Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 2009 ) . To signal its purpose for the induction of the CPRS, a Green paper[ 2 ]and a White paper[ 3 ]have been released by the Australian Government in July 2008 and December 2008 severally.

The CPRS may or may non be established but given the committedness of the Australian Government to cut down emanations, it is likely see other strategies should the CPRS fail to happen.Australian concerns such as railroad operators that emit CO2 will be straight affected. Other Australian concerns that emit small to no CO2 will besides be indirectly affected through the addition in monetary value of other goods and services. Businesss should hence see the option of implementing engineerings that cut down nursery gas emanations as portion of their determination devising.By and large, railroad operators have the pick of either to buy emanation licenses in order to foul or put in new engineerings that will diminish CO2 emanations. An advantage of puting in new engineerings is that they are environmentally friendlier and improves efficiency, which reduces operating costs in the long tally. Another advantage is that fresh licenses could be sold to other companies ( non limited to inveigh operators ) that require them. Buying emanations permits over the long term is non sustainable as the monetary value of licenses is volatile and increasing.

This will cut down concern net incomes and do the anticipation of future grosss hard.While some concerns do non hold the fundss to put in new engineerings and have to settle with buying licenses, other concerns that are financially able should see the option of puting in greener engineerings as portion of their long term investing programs. The following subdivision examines possible rail grip engineerings that involvement railroad operators in visible radiation of the Australia Government ‘s committedness towards cut downing nursery gases.


Railway locomotives in Australia are either powered by Diesel or electrification.

Due to increasing crude oil monetary values and the possible execution of the Australian authorities ‘s strategy to clamp down nursery emanations, a alteration towards greener engineering may be good for railway operators. Railway grip engineerings vary widely with focal point on different facets of railroad engines. These facets can be classified into three classs ; I ) power or tractive attempt and as a byproduct, reduces C emanation, two ) energy regeneration, and besides as a byproduct, lowers carbon emanation and three ) replacing fossil fuels to minimise C emanation.

Although these engineerings have different intents, they portion a common feature of diminishing C emanations. The remainder of the subdivision examines these engineerings in item.Bio-fuelsBio-fuel is a renewable energy beginning produced from natural stuffs. The most common bio-fuels are ethanol and bio-diesel. Ethanol is a gasoline additive/substitute that can be produced from maize, wheat or sugar Beta vulgaris, cellulosic biomass resources such as herbaceous and woody workss, agricultural and forestry residues and a big part of municipal and industrial solid waste watercourses. Biodiesel, a man-made Diesel fuel from oil seeds, is produced from vegetable oil, animate being fats or waste cooking oil.

These two signifiers of bio-fuels are seen as possible replacements of crude oil fuels ( Demirbas 2009 ) .Beginning: WTRG EconomicssFigure 1: Crude Oil Prices based on 2008 US dollars ( 1947 – August 2009 )Figure 1 shows the rough oil monetary value from 1947 to August 2009. The universe monetary value line of petroleum oil is highly volatile. From 2000 onwards, the oil monetary value increased at an speed uping rate until 2007 where the planetary fiscal crisis occurred and the oil monetary value plunged to about 50 US dollars per barrel in August 2009. The figure besides shows that the oil monetary value is dependent on supply and demand interactions. The events shown in the figure are dazes to provide or demand sides which affects the oil monetary value greatly. Puting aside Figure 1, the oil monetary value is expected to increase in the really long tally due to increasing demand ( population growing ) and diminishing supply[ 4 ]. The increasing and volatile oil monetary value, coupled with the constitution of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, are possible grounds that the universe is looking towards crude oil fuel replacements.

Beginning: Demirbas ( 2009 )Figure 2: World Production of Ethanol and Biodiesel ( 1980 – 2007 )Figure 2 displays the universe production of ethyl alcohol and biodiesel from 1980 to 2007. The production of both bio-fuels is turning at an increasing rate from twelvemonth 2000 onwards, with ethanol production turning at a much faster rate than biodiesel. The figure seems to propose that the universe is turning to ethanol and biodiesel as possible substitutes/additives for crude oil fuels.Bio-fuels production costs vary widely depending on factors such as feedstock, transition procedure, graduated table of production and part ( Demirbas 2009 ) . Since ethyl alcohol is produced from nutrient harvests, there is competition between the production of nutrient and the production of ethyl alcohol. For biodiesel, the usage of oil produced from oil seeds for cookery is a rival ( Demirbas 2008A ; Demirbas 2008B ; Demirbas 2008C ) . Demirbas ( 2009 ) argues that one of the chief benefits of utilizing bio-fuels is that it is sustainable.

However, the International Union of Railways ( UIC ) conducted a survey in 2007 and found that there are some uncertainnesss about the sustainability of bio-fuels. The UIC provinces that the issue of sustainability relates to bio-fuels impacts on energy usage, the emanation of other conventional air pollutant such as nitrogen oxide, land usage, impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, impacts on H2O and the production and disposal of waste merchandises. The UIC ‘s survey besides shows that biodiesel is executable for railroad grip unit engine usage but this is non without its disadvantages. The first possible disadvantage is an addition in fuel ingestion and reduced power. The 2nd disadvantage is that biodiesel blends in surplus of 30 % may increase care costs. In relation to the cost of bio-fuels, both the UIC and Demirbas ( 2009 ) mentioned that the cost of biodiesel is significantly higher than Diesel and requires the assistance of the authorities if bio-fuels are to be developed commercially.Although bio-fuel seems to be a possible substitute/additive for Diesel in railroad engines, the issue of sustainability is questionable.

The cost of bio-fuels deters people from utilizing it every bit good. Therefore, unless the authorities provides appropriate inducements to promote the usage of bio-fuels, it is non an attractive option for railroad operators.Hybrid LocomotivesA intercrossed locomotor consists of a intercrossed power works in which fuel cells comprise the premier mover and an energy beginning which provides subsidiary power ( Miller et al. 2006 ) .

The energy beginning can come from storage devices such as batteries, flywheels or ace capacitances. Fuel cell[ 5 ]by itself is besides a engineering that is bettering through clip. Furthermore, a rail vehicle can implement regenerative braking if it has the capableness of utilizing the grip motors as generators or alternators to retrieve possible or kinetic energy of the vehicle. Storage device engineerings, fuel cell engineerings and regenerative braking are examined below.There are assorted battery engineerings on the market with lead-acid engineering ruling the automotive industry for over a hundred old ages.

As the market demands for improved rhythm life and operation over broader temperature scope, nickel-metal-hydride engineering developed. The advantage of nickel-metal-hydride over lead-acid is improved rhythm life and excludes the usage of toxic heavy metals for production. Another battery engineering, lithium-ion besides provides improved rhythm life under pulsating or under deep discharge when compared with lead-acid. In add-on, lithium-ion engineering provides higher specific energy, uses less expensive electro active stuffs and outperforms nickel-metal-hydride at high and low application temperatures. However, unsolved issues with the safety of big cells and dependable battery-pack direction mean that lithium-ion engineering is non ready for commercialisation. ( Miller et al. 2006 )Table 1: Battery ParametersBattery TypeSpecific Power( W kg-1 )Specific energy( W h kg-1 )Cycle LifeLife ( old ages )Cost Target ( $ /kW H )Sealed-lead-acid600405002150Nickel-Metal-Hydride4006530005450Lithium-Ion50015025005500Beginning: Miller et Al.

( 2006 ) , p. 858From Figure 3, lithium-ion batteries have potentially the best public presentation but due to the issues mentioned as above, they are non commercially feasible compared to nickel-metal-hydride batteries. Besides the three battery engineerings, there are other batteries that are undergoing research but none of them come every bit near as lithium-ion engineering towards commercialisation due to operational issues.Flywheels[ 6 ]hold existed as one of the oldest signifier of energy storage device.

The advantage of a flywheel over battery is its capableness of managing higher power. The chief disadvantages are its structural demands that contain safety issues in the event of a ruinous failure under higher rotational rates. Flywheel demands of size and capacity for a fuel cell intercrossed engine are still in the early commercialisation phase and are likely to be more expensive than batteries ( Miller et al. 2006 ) .Super capacitances have higher power denseness, higher rhythm life than batteries. Conversely, the downside of ace capacitance is its lower energy denseness against batteries.

There are other hinderances towards execution on engines. The first hinderance is the higher cost compared to batteries or flywheels ( Romo et al. 2005 ) . The 2nd hinderance is related to a safety issue refering locomotor operators as ace capacitances contain toxic and flammable dielectric fluids ( Romo et al. 2005 ) .

These hinderances prevent ace capacitances from application on intercrossed engines.Fuel cell is a engineering that has gathered much involvement owing to its broad scope of end product power and has the possible to be a carbon-neutral energy beginning ( Meegahawatte et al. 2010 ) . An illustration would be fuel cells running on H that emits zero C emanations. However, this depends on the beginning of H extraction. Currently, steam reforming is the preferable method of pull outing H with about 50 % of the universe ‘s H being produced through it ( Meegahawatte et al. 2010 ) . Another method of obtaining H is obtained by the electrolysis of H2O utilizing electricity from traditional power workss ( Meegahawatte et al.

2010 ) . And through the de-carbonization of electricity grids utilizing renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, and C gaining control and storage plans, C emanation can be neutralised. The cardinal challenge for fuel cell intercrossed engines is the extraction and bringing of H, which relates to its feasibleness. As the proficient feasibleness of H fuel cell intercrossed engine has non been fulfilled, there are no costs attached to it at the minute. It is expected that future fuel cell costs will be reduced as there is an expectancy of mass fuel cell production when they are ready for commercialisation ( Miller et al. 2006 ) .Regenerative brakes, in rule, have possible applications on rider trains and cargo engines that have intercrossed power systems because the necessary power-management system is already in topographic point.

The chief concern relates to how much of the available energy can be recovered. When traveling at a high velocity, the engine ‘s power degree is at its highest and likely can non be absorbed by practical intercrossed storage systems ( Miller et al. 2006 ) . This means that a significant part of the high-velocity braking energy has to be dissipated by other agencies. Alternatively, when traveling at a low velocity, the available energy for recovery is low ( Miller et al. 2006 ) . Therefore, the usage of regenerative brakes depends mostly on its capital cost and care cost. These costs should so be evaluated against the sum of nest eggs ( in footings of reduced C emanation degree and end product efficiency ) that the regenerative brakes offer.

One major job is the aggregation of relevant informations for analysis.Most of the intercrossed engineerings besides regenerative braking are still in developing phases. Therefore, there are no known costs attached to them.

Furthermore, the degree of C emanations for each engineering is besides unknown until they have proved to be executable. Regenerative braking seems to be a executable option for specific engines but it depends on the capital cost, care cost, the sum of C emanations it reduces and the sum of end product efficiency it increases. An analysis of regenerative braking on trains is able to find its utility for specific railroad operators. However, the aggregation of relevant information remains a job.


The Australian authorities has determined that a CPRS is the cheapest and most effectual manner of cut downing nursery gas emanations.

The possibility of CPRS execution forces railroad operators to slake C emanations depending on their fiscal ability. As such, engineerings such as bio-fuels, storage devices, fuel cells and regenerative braking were reviewed for possible execution so that CPRS costs may be avoided. None of the engineerings except regenerative braking proved to be technically executable as most of them are in developing phases. Last, although regenerative braking is a possibility for execution, the aggregation of relevant informations for analysis is hard and hence, limits the utility of an economic survey.


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