Union Pacific (UP) and Shell have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow for the exploration and testing of several initiatives slated to help both companies meet their sustainability goals.
- Increase bio- and renewable fuel blend use in locomotives.
- Leverage renewable energy for fleet vehicles and facilities.
- Recycle used railroad crossties into bio feedstocks.
- Research alternate locomotive propulsion systems.
- Pilot Shell’s Remote Sense Oil Performance Monitoring technology “to explore engine efficiency.” Shell Remote Sense is described as “an online oil condition monitoring service that uses sensor data and advanced analytics to deliver actionable insights” about oil condition, allowing users to catch potential problems before they can cause equipment damage.
These initiatives, the partners said, are designed to help UP achieve its goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 26% by 2030 and, ultimately, reach net-zero by 2050, and Shell achieve its target to become a net-zero energy business by 2050.
“We’re thrilled to kick off an exciting new phase in our relationship, one that explores research and development, and pushes us to try things that could have a meaningful impact on Union Pacific’s efforts to further reduce GHG emissions,” said Beth Whited, Executive Vice President-Sustainability and Strategy at UP, and a featured speaker at Railway Age’s inaugural Women in Rail virtual conference, to be held Nov. 10. “While rail is already one of the most environmentally responsible ways to move freight, locomotive technology needs to evolve and we need partners, like Shell, who can help the entire industry think about the future in new ways.”
“We know that it will take collaboration across the value chain to unleash the opportunities that could decarbonize the railway locomotive and its operations,” said Carlos Maurer, Executive Vice President-Sectors and Decarbonization at Shell. “This new relationship with Union Pacific has potential to unlock some unique synergies in low-carbon product development. We are excited to see what new solutions emerge that could decarbonize the railroad sector.”