• Alternative fuels for rail transport

  • General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment
General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

Moderator: John_Perkowski

  by Pensyfan19
 
It's that time again!
I recently found an article which discussed using a new type of aluminum-air battery for rail transport. Anyone have any thoughts of what can be the most efficient energy source for running trains as we are constantly running out of fossil fuels?

https://www.autoblog.com/2019/10/22/alu ... cuDNFut20t
  by DutchRailnut
 
a battery is a storage device, it is not a source of energy .
  by eolesen
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:26 pmwe are constantly running out of fossil fuels?
Huh. I heard that myth most of my adult life, and it seemed every time someone said "we'll run out in the next 20 years", there was some form of discovery of petroleum reserves that pushed the timeline back another 20-30 years. Now, nobody even talks about running out.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaellyn ... o-peak-oil

There will eventually be cost and production break-thrus in biofuel (e.g. algae based diesel and jet fuel are already a thing but not yet cost competitive) which might see shifts away from petroleum based diesel, but I'll go out on a limb and say for North America, we'll be using internal combustion engines for the foreseeable future.
  by charlesriverbranch
 
DutchRailnut wrote: Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:21 pm a battery is a storage device, it is not a source of energy .
Well, petroleum is a storage device, too, for energy that originally came from the sun and was absorbed by ancient plants.
  by Triaxle
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:26 pm It's that time again!
I recently found an article which discussed using a new type of aluminum-air battery for rail transport. Anyone have any thoughts of what can be the most efficient energy source for running trains as we are constantly running out of fossil fuels?

https://www.autoblog.com/2019/10/22/alu ... cuDNFut20t
Constantly running out? How often is it that we run out of the fuels you speak of?
I see that there is currently a supply of such fuel equal to the vast worldwide demand, so after each case of running out, some miracle must have occurred to restore the supply. Clearly, we rely on such miracles. Therefore, to ensure their continuation a shaman must be stationed at each power plant. Let's hope that the miracle supply doesn't require a shaman at every substation.
  by eolesen
 
Meh, that's just appeasing the activists...

Guess where all that hydrogen comes from today? Most of it comes from natural gas....
  by Pensyfan19
 
Welp...I think my earlier point might be moot...

https://www.railwaygazette.com/traction ... 41.article
GERMANY: A study of climate-neutral traction technology by VDE, the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies, has concluded that over a 30-year life-cycle battery-powered multiple-units are substantially cheaper and more efficient than those powered by hydrogen.

The study published on July 21 concludes that the costs of battery-powered EMUs are similar to those of EMUs taking power from overhead wires. Hydrogen-powered multiple-units are, in contrast, more expensive and less efficient, being up to 35% more expensive to buy, operate and maintain.

The report’s author Dr Wolfgang Klebsch said that ‘to verify this difference, we also carried out an extensive sensitivity analysis in addition to determining the capital values. And here we see that the difference is significant. No matter how you look at it, the battery concept always stays ahead’.
  by PFLJohn
 
I hope that I'm not "necroing" this post, but to expand on this topic I wanted to mention a couple things.

The first is that locomotives "(also referred to as power) have become more efficient over the years and use less fuel than in the past.
Secondly while it is true that we will one day run out of crude, what is true for locomotives is now true for every car, truck and plane that relies on the various fuels sources.
Third fuels are normally mixed with alternatively produced fuels which also makes our reserves last longer than originally estimated. (soybean oils, ethanol & etc)
Final point, the use of alternate forms of energy production, ie; solar, wind and water, have cut down our general use of petroleum fuels. For example my state now has a lot of solar panels and electric charging stations that use solar. This cut down petrol use in our more crowded areas.

In summation our "50 year reserve" was stretched to 88+ years and most likely get stretched further as new technologies make it easier to break away from our massive consumption of fossil fuels. I hope that this answered your question.

I'd like to throw in a disclaimer that i'm not stating a political stance on the topic of fossil fuels.