Union Pacific has always looked for the best approach to long-term fueling options because fuel is a substantial portion of operating expenses. This effort included alternative energy long before it became a mainstream topic. Union Pacific is the only major railroad worldwide with extensive gas turbine experience, kicking off a project for gas turbine-electric locomotives as far back as 1952. In 2002, Union Pacific tested the world’s first diesel-battery, hybrid-switch locomotive, and in 2005 Union Pacific acquired its first Green Goat. Similar in concept to a hybrid automobile, which relies on both a gasoline engine and a battery-powered electric motor, the Green Goat depended entirely on its small diesel-powered engine to charge onboard storage batteries. Funding purchases on its own and in collaboration with governmental agencies, Union Pacific brought 21 Green Goat locomotives on property in California and Texas. After more than a decade of testing and use, Union Pacific discontinued operation of the Green Goat due to reliability issues. Even so, the company sees Green Goats as another valuable building block to finding the optimal fuel mix for emissions and operational performance. Knowing that each fuel has a different impact on various emissions, Union Pacific anticipates a combination of fuels and technologies will power tomorrow’s railroad.
This case study originally appeared in The GEMI Quick Guide on Renewable and Alternative Energy.
Image and Source: Union Pacific diesel hybrid-switch locomotive