Hotstart APUs selected for two projects

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

Montana Rail Link (MRL) and the Northeast States for Coordinate Air Use Management (NESCAUM) have contracted with international engine heating technology company Hotstart to provide APUs (Auxiliary Power Units) on 61 diesel-electric locomotives.

MRL selected Hotstart to provide a new series of APUs on 34 locomotives that a recent report shows saved the railroad money and fuel and dramatically reduced emissions. With this technology, Hotstart says MRL will eliminate 122,442 tons of emissions and save 10,657,523 gallons of fuel over the next 11 years.

Hotstart’s participation in the project was the result of MRL being awarded a $1.13 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the use of APUs to reduce idling. “The National Clean Diesel Campaign recently analyzed the grant project and found that the use of Hotstart’s APUs reduced the estimated idling time on the 34 locomotives by 198,858 hours,” Hotstart says. “They will also improve Missoula’s airshed and decrease emission-related health risks. The results of the project have been so positive that MRL hopes to acquire more APUs from Hotstart in the future.”

“I have burned over 400 gallons of extra fuel from my locomotive while it idles for a week,” says Brad Byrd of Pend Oreille Valley Railroad, another Hotstart customer who has made use of the APUs. “400 gallons. [The APU] will pay for itself. Quickly.”

Hotstart points out that “cold temperatures force railroads to keep their locomotives constantly idling, resulting in excessive use of fuel and emissions. Engines are often forced to idle for days or weeks at a time. Hotstart’s APU eliminates the need for idling by circulating heated coolant through the engine block, compressor, expansion tank, and oil cooler to keep the entire locomotive’s water system warm during shutdowns.”

“We’re moving the industry toward a future of greater environmental awareness and efficiencies through the reduction of idling, and we’re proud to see our APU product dramatically reducing idling for MRL,” says Jason Barnes, Senior Market Manager for Hotstart’s railroad division. “We are also excited to see how our customers are benefitting from the technology we’ve created. It would not be unusual to save anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 a year per locomotive in diesel fuel by using one of our APUs.”

NESCAUM selected Hotstart to provide APUs for 27 of 29 locomotives on six railroads that are part of the New England Locomotive Idle Reduction Project. The EPA provided an $850,000 grant, which NESCAUM matched by 23%. Hotstart, which won the contract after competitively bidding against three other APU suppliers, notes that the NESCAUM project is one of its largest APU installations, and the ninth EPA-funded locomotive idle reduction project using Hotstart technology.

“Engine idling is costly and harmful to the environment, so we’re very excited to see our APU being integrated into this refit project to reduce the practice,” says Jason Barnes. “APUs can save anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 a year per locomotive in diesel fuel, not to mention reduce air pollution and improve the airshed around communities.”

Categories: Locomotives, Mechanical Tags: ,