• GE Greening up

  • Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.
Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.

Moderators: AMTK84, MEC407

  by LCJ
GE is running ad blitzes about how environmentally friendly they are now, including the latest locomotives.

GE Ecomagination

I wonder how they explain away the PCBs in the Hudson River....

  by Joe
They have a commercial out too, with a dancing elephant. I've seen it twice and at the end they have a shot of the ES44.
I think the new dynamic brakes to battery idea is great. They have a photo of 2011 with drawing on it to show their idea for the dynamic braking system. That would be a huge step in locomotive technology. And maybe, just maybe, EMD will come out with the same thing 10 years later.

  by Allen Hazen
Today's (10 May 2005) "New York Times," page C2 (second page of business section) reported a speech by the president of GE, boasting of their greenery, reporting of their work on green technology, and calling for gov't policies that will make further development and application of said technologies economic. Apparently a successful "all things to all men" speech: didn't offend the environmentalists OR the Bush admin.
One short paragraph of the article mentioned GE's work on a hybrid locomotive (discussed in the "locomotives enter the digital age" string on this forum). Next paragraph said that one of GE's "rivals", the Rail Power company that does the Green Goat, had sold 30 hybrid locomotives and had an 80-unit order backlog. (Implication that GE was playing catchup was, I think, unfortunate: the segments of the locomotive market GE and Rail Power are pitching to are so different it is a bit misleading to call them "rivals," though the day may come.... And the technical challenges of a high-horsepower mainline hybrid locomotive are... different... from those of a hybrid switcher!)
Another GE technology touted in the speech was a coal gasification /gas turbine scheme that would make coal-fired power plants more efficient and so "greener". Which may have longer term implications for the railroad industry.
PS: as for hybrid locomotives, wasn't GE building them in the 1930s? The GE-IR two-power and three-power locomotives for New York Central et al. seem astonishingly similar in basic concept to the Green Goat! And I think I've seen a photo of something that LOOKED like a 44-tonner, but had an engine under one hood and storage batteries under the other.

  by UPRR engineer
So am i understanding this right? is it gonna be another 2000 horse on top of the 4300 aready there, or is the locomotive not gonna give you 4300 till it has to.

  by LCJ
It'll give you 4300 if you plant a tree every day somewhere along the right-of-way.

  by UPRR engineer
So what your telling me, i should quit the railroad and be a gardener. With as much fuel i waste blowing the gutts out of locomotives, i should be planting trees everyday. :wink: Wonder if that would be a tax right off for the UP if they gave me some.
  by Allen Hazen
Sean Graham-White posted a message to the "Loco-Notes" webforum (LN #49848; there are several followup posts) with links to a GE (?) site (link didn't do much for me) and to an Erie PA newspaper-- The Erie paper gives more detailed coverage to a large local employer than the "NY Times" does. (Surprise!)
Registering with them and then trying "hybrid locomotive" in their index I got articles from 9 and 10 May 2005 (so, reporting in part on the same press conference as the "NY Times" article I mentioned above).
Current status seems to be that GE claims to have "completed design" work on the hybrid, that they are planning to get a prototype on the rails before the end of this year...
... (the East Erie Commercial doesn't have many long step grades to test the regenerative brake feature on, so expect this to do a bit of travelling? maybe after some initial tests being towed around by other locomotives?) ...
with deliveries to customers starting in 2008.
CP is apparently one of the interested railroads: a CP official was quoted. (For climbing the Rockies, maybe using the hybrid feature to put out a steady 4400 hp with the engine throttled back to half power might be more useful than using it to emulate a 6000 hp unit.) A diagram showed something that looked like an ES44, marked to show battery locations at platform level alongside or beneath the long hood.

  by LCJ
Thanks for that information, Allen. Just as with automobiles, I can't help but believe that hybrid technology is a rapidly approaching, and fascinating future for locomotive development. I commend the GE folks for exploring it.

As I have witnessed, GE does test dynamic braking on the East Erie by towing a unit that is set up in braking -- but that certainly limits the depth of the analysis. Extensive road testing no doubt will be necessary.

I can recall, from my operating days, imagining being able to recapture, and re-use, all of that energy that gets blown into the air during dynamic braking.

I have seen the commercial featuring the locomotives, and I was wondering to myself, "who is the target audience here"? Is some CFO sitting at home, watching this, and thinking, "man, I gotta get a dozen of those, these things look sweet !!!" Why push locomotive commercials, to the mass market ? I don't mind watching, but I am not going to purchase one, and my fingers are crossed that I wont have any in the consist (SORRY :wink: ) Seems like they could get more "mileage" for their money, by doing a direct-marketing blitz, to potential buyers, no ? Anyone else have any thoughts, on this ? Regards... :-D

  by MikeF
Golden-Arm, I don't think the commercial is intended to sell locomotives. As you implied, the vast majority of the TV-watching public does not buy locomotives, and those who do, do not make purchasing decisions based on TV commercials. General Electric runs plenty of targeted advertising in the industry press. The TV commercial is just using the hybrid locomotive as an representative example of GE innovations so the next time Joe Consumer shops for a toaster, he'll think to himself, "Hmm, GE is a company I want to buy products from."

  by LCJ
Agreed -- it's more public relations (image management) than advertising to a particular target market. It's like the ADM commercials that talk about how they are feeding the world with their soybeans.

I don't think I've seen any ads for a GE hybrid. I've only seen the ones that show the new "environmentally friendly" diesel-electric as shown in this brochure here.

Image here.
  by Allen Hazen
Thanks for posting the .pdf of the GE brochure on the Evolution Series. Not much information I hadn't seen elsewhere*, but very pretty pictures! The blue on the demonstrators looks like the nicest shade of blue used on U.S. locomotives since Gret Norther's "Big Sky Blue," and the photos of the demonstrators leading trains through forests and mountains are dramatic.
* Though there's one thing I hadn't consciously noted before: even with the very high adhesion values quoted, the maximum starting tractive effort for the DC version of the locomotive and even the continuous rating for the AC version are beyond the adhesion limits: CSX really IS getting some extra low-speed oomph by ballasting their units to 216 tons!
Leading to another weight-related question. Suppose you strip down an ES44AC: no ballast, as few frills as youcan get away with. How light can you make it? Now subtract that from the 432,000 pounds that even CSX thinks is the maximum safe weight. I doubt the difference will be more than about 30 tons. So that's at least a rough figure for the weight of the batteries on the proposed hybrid locomotive. So, question for people who know batteries: how many minutes of 1,500 kw power can a 30-on battery pack provide?