Trial seeks to reduce emissions from diesel engines

EMR managing director Will Rogers (left) with Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris and the test train at Derby station.

East Midlands Railway (EMR), in partnership with rolling stock company Porterbrook and emissions specialist Eminox, has fitted a two-box emissions-reduction system to the exhaust of a Class 170 train operating passenger services between Derby and Matlock.

The new system uses an oxidation catalyst and a filter to remove some of the nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter from the train’s exhaust.

The £600,000 trial is being funded by EMR, Porterbrook and the Department for Transport through its funding programme delivered by Innovate UK.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister.

As part of the same trial, the train has also been fitted with an innovative low-volume hydrostatic oil reservoir, developed by Bosch Rexroth, which utilises a double-pump arrangement and hydrostatic oil to drive the engine cooling fans and the alternator, providing electrical power to the train. This technology, which is capable of delivering similar outputs to the original system but requires only 16 litres of hydrostatic oil compared to the 200 litres that is currently needed, delivers a significant reduction in space, weight and volume of oil required.

Performance data collected from the trial will help engineers understand whether the technology will be a viable option for wider use in the industry – early indications show that emissions are reduced by up to 80 per cent.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, who went to see the train for himself, said: “It was fantastic to see one of our ‘First of a Kind’ competition winners in action at Derby station. Harnessing innovations like this will help to make our railways greener and cleaner as we build back better from Covid-19.

Neil Bamford, EMR.

“This competition always throws up exciting innovations and the technology I have seen today, along with the winners of this year’s competition, could transform how we travel in future.” 

East Midlands Railway fleet director Neil Bamford said the company was delighted to be able to support the trial.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities to reduce our environmental impact and deliver greener, cleaner journeys for our passengers,” he said. “That is why we are excited to support this project and help explore if this innovative technology can have an impact on cutting down pollution.”

Jonathan Evans, Eminox.

Jonathan Evans, senior programme manager at Eminox, added: “Securing this funding reflects the innovative, first-of-a-kind nature of our project with East Midlands Railway and Porterbrook and demonstrates our commitment to reducing harmful emissions across multiple sectors to help deliver a greener future.

“The project will demonstrate the Eminox exhaust after-treatment technology, benefiting air quality and the environment. Given the large number of diesel trains currently operating in the UK, there are enormous possibilities to develop and deploy our technology on a wider scale, benefiting many communities across the country.”

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