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GE announces Tier 4 heavy-haul locomotive

24 August 2012

GE Transportation today announced the prototype for its next Evolution® Series Locomotive designed to meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tier 4 emission standards that take effect in 2015. GE expects that the locomotive will be the first in the industry to meet Tier 4 standards.

The new locomotive will meet the Tier 4 standards with “technological advancements versus costly alternatives, which require special exhaust additives and infrastructure investments”, said GE. While no technical details were provided, the engine is expected to utilize such technologies as Miller valve timing with advanced turbocharging and high pressure fuel injection.

The locomotive will not use urea-SCR technology, with NOx emissions controlled entirely through in-cylinder technologies. Alternative solutions would likely rely on the use of a urea exhaust additive to meet Tier 4 standards, requiring railroads to build an extensive network of fueling stations across North America, said GE. GE’s Evolution Series Locomotive will not require the additive and railroad customers will not have to incur the costs related to rail infrastructure upgrades, said the company.

Particulate emissions are apparently controlled in-cylinder as well, but the GE announcement provides no details on the PM control approach.

The new engine technology is the result of an eight-year, $600 million investment into the research, design and engineering to meet Tier 4 standards. GE plans to test 30 prototypes in actual use with railroads over the next two years before applying for EPA certification.

The new locomotive is part of GE’s Evolution Series locomotive family. Today, more than 5,000 Evolution Series Locomotives operate globally, allowing to move one ton of freight more than 480 miles on one gallon of fuel. GE has not indicated whether the new, non-SCR Tier 4 engine technology will bring an improvement or deterioration of the fuel economy.

GE Transportation plans to build its Tier 4 Evolution Series Locomotives at one or both of its US locomotive manufacturing sites in Erie, PA and Fort Worth, TX. GE will produce its Tier 4 compliant diesel engines at its manufacturing plant in Grove City, PA.

Source: GE Transportation