Thomas wrote:Does anyone know if locomotives of the future could be powered by Natural Gas or algae-based biodiesel? I believe that it would be nice if corporations are currently researching these possibilities to meet tomorrow's travel demands...
A lot depends on what you have and this case expect to have and at what price.
For instance during World War II the Swiss had lots of hydro-electric power but not much coal or an adequate supply of electric locomotives or MUs, So they converted a few steam engines to boil water with electricity. If all you have is a hydro plant and a steam locomotive it's attractive. You wouldn't want to do that if you were building a new locomotive.
UP used to run turbine locomotives on bunker fuel/No. 6 oil. Because the refineries were practically giving it to them so that they would haul it away, People figured out how to make plastic out of that and they were willing to pay more for it than UP was willing to. UP doesn't run turbine locomotives any more.
People run diesel engines on natural gas all the time. Backup generators mostly but there are places where it makes sense to run the air conditioning on a natural gas engine than it is to run the air conditioning with an electric motor. And running your small backup generator on natural gas or propane makes sense if you don't want to be bothered with long term storage of gasoline. If you heat the house with No. 2 heating oil because there is no natural gas service, running your small backup generator on diesel is much more attractive than running it on natural gas.
.. you can run a diesel engine on almost anything. What that anything is depends on how much anything costs. Diesel locomotives can run on biodiesel, it's been tested, no one does it because biodiesel is more expensive than petroleum diesel. The people with natural gas run diesels don't use diesel because natural gas is cheaper, for them, than diesel fuel. Propane, another alternative, travels by rail all the time. No one has done the trival engineering to fuel a diesel locomotive with a railroad car propane tanker because propane is more expensive than diesel. What do you have in mind?