Environmentally Friendly Steam-Powered Locomotive Run on Biofuel

There is usually a steady buzz about biofuels, and you can find several robust opinions about this timely topic. Biofuel could be broadly defined as solid, liquid, or gas fuel consisting of, or derived from biomass.

Liquid biofuels have been used since the early days of the car market. Nikolaus August Otto, the German inventor of the internal combustion engine, conceived his invention to run on ethanol. Rudolf Diesel, the German inventor of the Diesel engine, designed it to run on peanut oil. Henry Ford originally produced the Ford Model T, a auto designed from 1903 to 1926, to run certainly on ethanol. However, as soon as crude oil became cheaply available, cars started employing fuels derived from mineral oil: petroleum or diesel.

That is why biofuels are used globally: biofuel industries are expanding in Europe, Asia and also the Americas. The numerous popular use for biofuels is in automotive transport. Biofuel is often designed from any carbon source that is usually replenished rapidly e.g. plants. Many diverse plants and plant-derived materials are utilized for biofuel manufacture.

Steam LocomotiveCoalition for Sustainable Rain(CSR) has teamed up with the University of Minnesota’s Insitute to transform a locomotive from 1937 to world’s first modern steam engine run on biocoal. Basically biocoal is derived by cellulosic biomass, leading to a solid, dry, blackened material dense with energy. It is carbon-neutral and doesn’t contain heavy metals.

“Currently there are no steam locomotives working in revenue passenger service (aside from train museums),” according to Davidison Ward, president of CSR. “This project is a first step toward refining modern steam locomotive technology.”

In the next 12 month, CSR plans to move this locomotive which currently resides in Topeka, Kan to Minneapolis so that they can start renovate and modernize it. They aim to break world record for steam locomotive speed which is currently 126 MPH to be at least 130 MPH. If successful, the prototype won’t merely be carbon-neutral; it will as well providing a compelling alternative to diesel-electric trains used today.

When combining the superb thermal efficiency and decreased upkeep expenses associated with modern day steam with clean and efficient torrefied biocoal, CSR is positive it can generate a higher-speed passenger rail locomotive which is Cleaner, Quicker and Cheaper than any locomotive on the market at this time.


References: University of  Minnesota, Coalition for Sustainable Rail

Filed in: Trains, Transportation

2 Responses to “Environmentally Friendly Steam-Powered Locomotive Run on Biofuel”

  1. Will Davis
    May 29, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    The US is flush with gas at the moment and I really love to see these great locomotives live again. Can’t wait to travel on one of these. I wish them all the best.

  2. Pradeep Chakraborty
    May 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Steam locomotives are living machines but I don’t think that they wouldn’t create pollution. Using the EPA standards, nothing is ‘carbon neutral’.