Wednesday, 29 March 2023

DB Cargo UK and DB Cargo AG Conducts HVO Emissions Testing at Toton TMD

In a bid to support the environment and lead the way in green and sustainable freight transportation across Great Britain, DB Cargo UK welcomed colleagues from DB Cargo AG, its German rail freight operator parent company, to support DB Cargo's alternative fuels project.

To demonstrate the benefits of using Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel, DB Cargo UK worked with Group Technical Support (GTS) and Toton TMD to facilitate load bank testing of a Class 60 locomotive. The testing also aimed to compare the effect of HVO fuel on locomotive exhaust gas emissions and performance to that of standard red diesel.

After the first test was completed on conventional diesel fuel, the tanks were completely drained, and the locomotive was refuelled with HVO for the second test. The emission measurement was then repeated, analogous to the measurement with diesel, to gain a direct comparison of exhaust gas emissions and performance between the two fuels. 
The back-to-back tests were done to assess the impact of HVO fuel on locomotive emissions and its potential as an alternative fuel.

Emissions Result Dashboard

The main advantage when it comes to HVO is that it can be produced by processing renewable waste lipids such as vegetable oil, tallow, and used cooking oil. 
Burning 1,000 litres of HVO will produce 195kg of CO2, whereas 1,000 litres of diesel will produce around 2,700 kg of CO2.

Locomotives usually have a service life of 40 years; , so the company say "that it is vital that we can radically reduce the use of fossil fuels that power traditional diesel engines".

Jörg Schneider, Head of Climate Protection and Energy, and the lead for sustainability at DB Cargo AG said:

“If this round of testing shows that HVO fuel cuts emissions in a Class 60 locomotive, a loco with a 34-year-old engine, in a similar way to more modern locomotives, this would prove that HVO is a viable and effective alternative to standard red diesel. 
Adopting HVO fuel in all diesel locomotives would then have a significant impact on the rail industry's carbon footprint and overall air quality in the UK.”

Jörg Schneider, Silvo Kleine, Harry Walton, Paul Wilton, Kathryn Oldale, Stefan Heibl

Kathryn Oldale, Head of Strategy, Policy and Communications at DB Cargo UK, and the UK lead for sustainability said:

“HVO is the only credible solution to decarbonise rail freight today and requires significantly less investment than mass electrification in the short term. In the long term however, we must see a programme for electrification of key routes across our network. 
Today, we are poised to decarbonise our operations by 90% just by swapping to renewable fuel but this will require marginal investment to promote a step change culture across our industry, this is where we are calling on our decision makers to see the direct benefits of HVO.”

DB Cargo has already reduced its CO2 emissions by almost 70% over the past 30 years and has set itself an ambitious target for climate neutrality by 2040. As part of the alternative fuels project, they are also planning to use synthetic (i.e., artificially produced) fuels, as well as so-called air-to-fuel (A2F). 
The load bank testing of the Class 60 locomotive at DB Cargo UK is another important step in this journey towards a more sustainable future for rail freight.