Technical Reports

Locomotive Fuel Vapor Reclamation System Field Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis

  • 01
  • Aug
  • 2016
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
OFFICE: RPD
SUBOFFICE: RPD-33
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/ORD/FRA-16/31
KEYWORDS: Locomotive fuel tank, fuel vapor, fuel temperature, fuel-vapor to air ratio, diesel vapor condenser, installation, vapor reclamation, remote data monitoring, cost-benefit analysis
ABSTRACT: This report summarizes the results of the work performed to install a diesel vapor reclamation unit (DVRU) on an SD70 MAC locomotive of BNSF Railways and its performance evaluation during freight railroad service. One complete DVRU with several sensors for monitoring fuel and ambient temperatures as well as the fuel vapor-to-air ratio was installed on BNSF9674. An electronics control unit with digital data acquisition and wireless communication over mobile network and internet constituted the remote DVRU data monitoring system. As BNSF9674 was deployed over its freight carrying routes, the DVRU system performance data could be monitored only over a very limited period of time. Often, the remote data transmission was interrupted due to inadvertent locomotive and/or DVRU maintenance problems. Based on one year’s experience with performance monitoring, it was concluded that practical difficulties with day-to-day revenue service operations may not permit smooth operation of the DVRU over a long period. This precluded the scope for further installation of more DVRUs on other locomotives. Because the amount of useful DVRU system performance data from the field tests was insufficient, a cost-benefit estimate was carried out while accounting for the contributions of the DVRU and return fuel cooling. In the best case scenario, the return on investment in DVRUs would take 15 years to recover.
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