BNSF selects Hotstart to help reduce locomotive emissions in eastern Washington

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BNSF and Hostart demonstrate the new APUs for use in eastern Washington.
SPOKANE, Wash. – BNSF Railway, in partnership with Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency and rail industry supplier Hotstart, is retrofitting 11 locomotives with HOTSTART idle-reduction technology to reduce emissions and conserve fuel in Washington. The pool of locomotives will operate out of the BNSF rail yards in Spokane and Pasco.

“Minimizing our impact on the planet is a key priority for all of us at BNSF and we are always striving to incorporate new practices and technologies to help us reduce our impact,” says John Lovenburg, BNSF vice president of environmental. “Through our partnership with Hotstart and Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, we are able to make continued strides in Washington to further reduce carbon emissions in our operations.”

To lower carbon dioxide emissions at its Spokane and Pasco rail yards, BNSF has purchased Hotstart’s auxiliary power units to reduce idling during cold weather. Hotstart’s APU idle-reduction technology keeps the engine warm and ready to restart. Shutting down an idling locomotive reduces fuel consumption, oil consumption, emissions, noise, and engine wear. The railroad estimates it will save more than 63,000 gallons of fuel each winter with the installation.

In addition to the APUs, BNSF has installed automatic engine start-stop systems that can be used in conjunction with the auxiliary power unit to shut down the locomotive when not needed. The combination of APUs and automatic engine start-stop can potentially eliminate most locomotive engine idling. Remote data logging systems will be installed onboard each locomotive to monitor and track data for each of the 11 auxiliary power unit systems.

“Hotstart is proud to support BNSF in its efforts to reduce locomotive idling,” says Terry Judge, CEO of Hotstart. “We’re thrilled that our technology, developed and built right here in Spokane, will help BNSF save fuel and reduce emissions right in our own backyard.”

Spokane Clean Air, with technical assistance from Washington State Department of Ecology, facilitated the partnership between BNSF and Hotstart to purchase the APU idle-reduction technology. When all of the retrofits are complete, it is estimated this project will reduce emissions, including hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide, by more than 22 tons during the six-month, cold weather operational period.

“This project is an excellent example of how technology can be used to reduce air pollution while saving a company money through significant fuel savings. It is a win-win and we hope to see additional diesel engines retrofitted with idle reduction technology throughout our area,” says Julie Oliver, Director of Spokane Clean Air.

BNSF has equipped more than 90 percent of its more than 7,500 locomotives with the automatic engine start-stop idle-control technology. All of BNSF’s new locomotives are also equipped with the technology.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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BNSF Railway's Willow Springs Intermodal Yard 


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