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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Its just a Gas !!!


Date: 11/29/19 15:22
Its just a Gas !!!
Author: scoobydoobydoo

With all the power generating stations changing from coal to Natural Gas,How come Class 1 Railroads arnt using the gas to power there Locomotives ???   Scoobydoobydoo want's to Know



Date: 11/29/19 15:38
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: Roadbed

Florida East Coast is, but their logistics are pretty easy. Jacksonville to Miami and back. The additional fueling and maintenance infrastructure upgrades are/were limited to one or two locations.

I suspect, but do not know for certain, that the much more widely dispersed class 1's face far more extensive costs to implement similar upgrades.



Date: 11/29/19 18:28
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: pdt

Compressed natural gas , to the best I can figure, takes up about 4 times the space of Diesel fuel, for the same energy.  So a 6000 gal tank on typical loco could only hold a 1500 gal equivilent.

IIRC, the CNG test operations ive seen use a fuel tender.   Added expense there, and there is also expense in storage. .  Natural gas has to be cooled to -160 degress to liquify for storage at nominal pressure.

I'm no expert on this, but seems, so far, that the up front emphastructure costs would not break even with fuel cost savings for quite a long time. 

Power plants seem to be the best place to use for Naturnal gas.  Easy to pipeline in (as opposed to moving coal or oil), and If there is any starage needed at the plant, it seems to be nominal. (i dont recall seeing LNG storage tanks at any plants, but I could be wrong....



Date: 11/30/19 01:34
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: ClubCar

Keep in mind that although diesel fuel will burn when there is an accident, natural gas will explode if a tank is ruptured.  I'd be afraid to operate an engine and sitting on top of a fuel tank with any kind of natural or propane gas in them.  If you notice, when the railroads still operated the old dining cars, they never used any propane gas stoves, even in work train service, for this very reason.  A large tank of either natural or propane gas would be like a bomb going off in an accident.  Something to really think about.
John in White Marsh, Maryland



Date: 11/30/19 07:27
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: MEKoch

Railroad dining car stoves west of Chicago were usually propane. East of Chicago were presto log stoves. Propane was not allowed in Hudson River tunnels. Propane stoves were much easier to work; cleaner etc.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 11/30/19 07:50
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: Lackawanna484

Ethanol also has potentially serious combustion risks.

Posted from Android



Date: 11/30/19 12:52
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: pdt

LPG  (propane and butane) is a lot heavier than natural gas, and therefore has a higher boiling temp (-61 degrees) and is thus much easier to liquify under lower pressure.  Thus much easier to store and not as explosive as CNG.    Problem is, its cracked from crude oil, not found in the ground by itself.  Natural gas has some heavier hydrocarbons in it, but is primarily methane



Date: 11/30/19 13:11
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: dcfbalcoS1

          Because 'their' locomotives are over 'there' and 'they're' not able to get the gas to them.



Date: 12/01/19 09:39
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: ExSPCondr

dcfbalcoS1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>           Because 'their' locomotives are
> over 'there' and 'they're' not able to get the gas
> to them.

Very good!
G



Date: 12/01/19 11:34
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: ExSPCondr

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Compressed natural gas , to the best I can figure,
> takes up about 4 times the space of Diesel fuel,
> for the same energy.  So a 6000 gal tank on
> typical loco could only hold a 1500 gal
> equivilent.
>
> IIRC, the CNG test operations ive seen use a fuel
> tender.   Added expense there, and there is also
> expense in storage. .  Natural gas has to be
> cooled to -160 degress to liquify for storage at
> nominal pressure.

The problem with CNG/LNG, along with everything mentioned so far, is the storage!  Not only does CNG have to be cooled to at least -160 to become LNG, it has to be KEPT at -160 to stay liquid under a couple of hundred psi.  What that means is that as soon as the temp gets to -159 the flammable liquid starts to boil off, and the pressure on top of the liquid in the closed tank will go up to just over 2000 psi, and continue to rise unless its vented off as the liquid turns to gas.  Off the top of my head, I don't know how many cubic feet of CNG at 2000 psi come from one gallon of LNG, but its a LOT.  One tank car of LNG is going to equal at least 10 tank cars of CNG, some one can please correct this, but my point has been made. 

Obviously its just not practical to haul several empty CNG tanks around with hoses between them and the loaded LNG car to handle the expansion, so that is one reason the railroads, (and the truckers) don't do it.  Oh yeah I forgot, why not put a refrigeration system about the size of a Nose Mounted Reefer unit on a piggyback van on one end of the tender?  That would work great until either the engine portion, or the refrigeration portion fails, and now you've got a tender sitting there venting a whole lot of flammable gas!

The flammable gas can't be vented off like the liquid CO2 cars do, for obvious reasons, so there's another reason.

Now, how do the tank ships bring a load of LNG across the Pacific without a huge refrigeration plant to keep it all liquid?  Simple, they use the boiled off gas for fuel on the trip over, and only use bunker on the empty trip back.

Lastly, and I've posted this before, CNG or LNG won't work by itself in a conventional diesel engine.
1. A diesel fuel injection system injects liquid under very high pressure, at least 20,000 psi on the new stuff, so it won't work on a gas.
2. CNG won't ignite by itself when compressed in an engine, so something else has to be done to make it work.
3. One solution, which limits the loco to CNG operation only, is to remove the fuel injection system, and put a spark plug in the injector hole, then install a "distributor" and all the rest of an ignition system, and then a "carburetor" (same kind of idea as a propane forklift) to supply the necessary combustible gas mixture to the turbo intake.  This is how they do it on a lot of transit buses, which are always fairly near their refueling stations.
4. The other option is to install the "carburetor"  and send the large volume of combustible mixture via the turbo, and ignite it with just a spritz of diesel.  The advantage of this system is that the loco will run on 100% diesel if it runs out of CNG.  
> I'm no expert on this, but seems, so far, that the
> up front emphastructure costs would not break even
> with fuel cost savings for quite a long time. 
*              Infrastructure?

I REALLY think you're right, and sorry to have hijacked your thread!
G



Date: 12/01/19 12:11
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: Lackawanna484

The FEC natural gas units run on a mix of diesel fuel and natural gas. Or on diesel fuel alone.

There's an older TO thread about the max % of natural gas the FEC ES44 units can burn.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/01/19 12:32
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: scoobydoobydoo

Thanks for all the Coments,Funny thing i just got my new trains Mag in the mail saturday and there a post about it !!!



Date: 12/01/19 12:46
Re: Its just a Gas !!!
Author: goneon66

IF any railroad thought using anything other than diesel (lng or electricity) to power their locomotives would yield a better r.o.i., i would think they would do it...........

 



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