DiGas, a Latvian dual-fuel natural gas system manufacturer and Estonian state-owned energy company Enefit Kaevandused, have teamed up on retrofitting locomotives to run on LNG.
The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to retrofit and pilot two types of diesel shunter locomotives TEM-2 and TEM 18 to operate in dual-fuel mode using LNG.
DiGas dual-fuel natural gas technology has been previously extensively tested on other types of shunting locomotives. It is estimated that each of the two types of retrofitted locomotives will on average provide around €25,000 ($27,500) in fuel costs savings per year while emitting 20 percent less carbon dioxide, 80 percent less particulate matter and sulfur dioxide as well as 30 percent less nitrogen oxide, DiGas said in its statement.
With the upgrade of these locomotives and the detailed data received from their operation, Enefit Kaevandused expects to improve the efficiency of locomotive fleet management.
Both retrofitted LNG locomotives are planned to start shunting operations using DiGas’ natural gas systems in mid-2020.
Furthermore, should the pilot project prove feasible, Enefit Kaevandused has expressed an interest in retrofitting at least four more shunter locomotives using DiGas natural gas system.
These actions are aimed to significantly increase the competitiveness of railway transportation over other means of transportation by further expanding the already existing environmental and economic advantages of rail transportation.
DiGas is currently advancing and piloting its dual-fuel system within the project NYSMART. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.