Amtrak Heartland Flyer Tests Cleaner, Renewable Fuel for Passenger Trains

FORT WORTH – Amtrak and the Oklahoma and Texas state transportation departments today announced the nation’s first-ever test of a cleaner and renewable biodiesel fuel blend to power a daily interstate passenger train between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the use of foreign oil.

Amtrak received a $274,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to carry out the research project in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (Okla. DOT) on the daily Heartland Flyer train operated by Amtrak with state support from both Oklahoma and Texas. The biodiesel blend includes beef byproduct and is provided by a Texas-based vendor.

In previously conducted stationary locomotive engine testing, the biodiesel blend known as B20 (20 percent pure biofuel and 80 percent diesel) reduced hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide each by 10 percent, reduced particulates by 15 percent and sulfates by 20 percent. Detailed measurements will be taken on the P32-8 locomotive at the end of 12 months so any impact of the biodiesel on valves and gaskets can be measured.

Amtrak will collect locomotive exhaust emissions data for analysis in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency locomotive exhaust emissions federal test protocols.

“Amtrak travel is already more energy efficient than most other forms of intercity transportation,” said Roy Deitchman, Amtrak Vice President, Environmental, Health and Safety. “If the test shows this use of a renewable fuel in our locomotive is successful, it’s a home run for our passengers, for our partners and for the planet.”