If the Twin Cities-based Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR) has anything to do with it, trains will soon run carbon-neutral.
Recently, the Coalition, a project of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Environment, teamed up with Sustainable Rail International, a non-profit advocacy group, to announce the launch of an initiative to build the world’s fastest biofuel-powered steam locomotive.
If successful, the prototype won’t just be carbon-neutral; it will also eclipse the current steam locomotive world record by traveling at 130 m.p.h.: providing a compelling alternative to diesel-electric trains used today.
“This project presents a novel approach to U.S. locomotive development,” said Davidson Ward, president of SRI, “looking to technologies of the past to inspire solutions for today’s sustainability challenges.”
Paving the way for the project was the creation of torrefied biomass, a carbon-neutral coal substitute. Engineered by the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Research Institute, the new fuel has the same energy, density, and material properties as coal, without the sulfur, metals, or carbon footprint.biofuel powered steam locomotive, biomass powered train, Coalition for Sustainable Rail, Davidson Ward, Institute on Environment, Natural Resources Research Institute, Sustainable Rail International, torrefied biomass, University of Minnesota