Amtrak and the Oklahoma and Texas state transportation departments are cooperating on the nation’s first-ever test of biodiesel containing beef by-products to power a passenger train. The biodiesel blend, consisting of 80% conventional diesel and 20% biofuel, will be used in the Heartland Flyer train operated by Amtrak. Previous locomotive engine studies have shown using the B20 blend reduced hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide each by 10%, cut particulates by 15% and lowered sulfate emissions by 20%.
Beef tallow will be the primary raw material in the experimental biofuel. The by-product is readily available and relatively inexpensive compared to plant oils.
The trial is part of a $274,000 grant Amtrak received from the Federal Railroad Administration to continue research of the cleaner, renewable fuel. Detailed measurements will be taken on the P32-8 locomotive at the end of 12 months to measure any impact the biodiesel might have on valves and gaskets. Amtrak will collect exhaust emissions data for analysis in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Representatives of the Texas Beef Council were on hand in Fort Worth when the project was announced. The checkoff-funded group provided information and materials to passengers explaining cattle provide many by-products, in addition to beef.
For more information visit www.kla.org.