Heartland Flyer testing biodiesel blend
The Heartland Flyer chugged away from Oklahoma City's Sante Fe Depot today fueled by a renewable biodiesel blend.
It marked the start of a yearlong test to determine if the passenger train running between Oklahoma City and Forth Worth could operate on an alternative fuel meant to cut greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on foreign oil.
"It is a historic day for the Heartland Flyer, another milestone for us," said Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley.
The biodiesel test is being paid by a $274,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration.
The project, announced today by Amtrak and the Oklahoma and Texas transportation departments, will last a year. It will use a biodiesel blend that is 20 percent beef byproduct and 80 percent diesel.
Ridley said it was fitting to begin the test during Earth Week, which began Monday.
The Heartland Flyer now bears a green sticker marking its participation in the biodiesel test.
At the end of the test period, Amtrak will measure the fuel's affect on the locomotive's valves and gaskets. The rail operator also will collect locomotive exhaust emissions for analysis with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency protocols.
Previous engine tests using a stationary locomotive showed the blend reduced hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent.
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