ths1104

Leave the cowpats be

Posted in Electricity, Sustainable development by ths1104 on 08/09/2010

Train companies are fully envolved in our quest for alternative energy resources. Here comes what they have recently been testing: beef and wind.

The “beef train” is the first train that runs on biodiesel made from beef byproducts. It is operated between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas, by Amtrak  as a 12-month experiment. The fuel is composed by 80% of diesel and 20% of biofuel. According to the company, its cuts both hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 10%,  particulates emissions by 15% and sulphates ones by 20% compared to standard diesel fuels [1].

The beef train, (CC) Sneebly/Flickr

The “wind train”, him, is the first 100% wind energy powered train. It was operated by MIR in August 2010 between Tokyo and Tsukuba. 276 MWh of electrical energy have been bought to operate MIR’s grid during this period [2]. Conclusion, greenhouse gases emissions have been cut by more than 90%. The exact calculation is quite complicated as the greenhouse gases emission per kWh of electrical energy produced depends on the country considered. But as Japanese average emission per kWh is pretty high, oil being there the primary source of energy [3], wind energy reduces significantly total emissions.

Tsukuba Express, (CC) MIR

In spite of huge efforts from the texan company, the “beef train” will certainly never equal the “wind train” in term of greenhouse gases emissions. If Amtrak really wants to run green, it should just buy an electric train and leave the cowpats be.

Notes

  1. Amtrak trials first cow-powered train“, http://www.guardian.co.uk
  2. 「TXエコトレイン」運行等を実施!“, http://www.mir.co.jp
  3. Japan Energy Data, Statistics and Analysis“, http://www.eia.doe.gov

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