BNSF Installs Locomotive Idling Reduction Technology in Spokane WA

The Spokane Clean Air recently announced the installation of several Hotspot Auxillary Power Systems in BNSF locomotives.  Hotspot systems use small diesel engines to keep locomotive engines warm, in order to eliminate the need to idle locomotives during cold weather.

Over 4,000 Hotspot systems have been installed in locomotives in the US and elsewhere.  For more information, see the Hotstart APU Data Sheet

Idle Reduction Project at Spokane BNSF Rail Yard Reduces Emissions, Saves Fuel

New Idle-Reduction Technology on BNSF Railway Locomotives Helps to Improve Air Quality, Conserve Fuel in Spokane
Thursday, November 13, 2014

BNSF Railway, in partnership with Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency (Spokane Clean Air) and HOTSTART is retrofitting 11 locomotives with HOTSTART idle reduction technology to reduce emissions and conserve fuel in Washington. The pool of locomotives will operate out of the BNSF rail yards in Spokane and Pasco Washington.

To lower carbon dioxide emissions at its rail yards, BNSF is installing HOTSTART Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) to reduce idling during cold weather. The APU idle reduction technology keeps the engine warm and ready to restart. Shutting down an idling locomotive reduces fuel consumption, oil consumption, emissions, noise and engine wear.

In addition to the APUs, BNSF has installed Automatic Engine Start-Stop systems (AESS) that can be used in conjunction with the APU to shut down the locomotive when not needed. The combination of APUs and AESS can potentially eliminate most locomotive engine idling. Remote data logging systems will be installed onboard each locomotive to monitor and track data for each of the 11 APU systems.

“HOTSTART is proud to support BNSF in its efforts to reduce locomotive idling,” said Terry Judge, CEO of HOTSTART. “We’re thrilled that our technology, developed and built right here in Spokane, will help BNSF save fuel and reduce emissions right in our own backyard.”

Spokane Clean Air, with technical assistance from Washington State Department of Ecology, facilitated the partnership between BNSF and HOTSTART to purchase the APU idle reduction technology. The project is expected to result in a 22 ton emissions reduction during the six-month “cooler weather” period when the APUs operate.

“This project is an excellent example of how technology can be used to reduce air pollution while saving a company money through significant fuel savings. It is a win-win and we hope to see additional diesel engines retrofitted with idle reduction technology throughout our area,” said Julie Oliver, Director of Spokane Clean Air.

BNSF has already equipped more than 90 percent of its more than 7,500 locomotives with the AESS idle-control technology. All of BNSF’s new locomotives are also equipped with this technology. 
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