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Machinery Minute: Biofuels for Amtrak Locomotives

May 7, 2010


The nation's passenger rail system is "beefing-up" some of its use of biofuels to power its locomotives. Amtrak says it will begin using biodiesel containing beef by-products to power a passenger train. Amtrak says this is part of a long-term project to become a "greener" company.
The engine will run on a biodiesel blend of 80% conventional diesel and 20% biodiesel. According to the rail company, beef tallow will be the primary raw material. 
The tests are being run in cooperation with the Oklahoma and Texas transportation departments. The test train, called the Heartland Flyer, runs daily from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. The trial is part of $274,000 grant Amtrak received from the Federal Railroad Administration to continue research on alternative, renewable fuels.

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