Iowa Railroad Testing B10 and B20 Biodiesel

The Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. (IAIS) based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has begun testing B10 and B20 biodiesel blends. The fuel is being supplied by Renewable Energy Group (REG), a nationwide biodiesel producer and marketer. As part of the study, REG, IAIS and Kansas University are measuring wear and tear on movable engine parts, horsepower ratings, and emissions.

“We hope this biodiesel blend demonstration will serve as the tipping point for the rail industry’s use of renewable fuels,” said Myron Danzer, REG’s vice president of customer and service technical. “We expect to find reduced diesel particulate matter and carbon emissions as well as improved lubricity with the use of biodiesel.”

In June, IAIS began using a B10 blend in the Council Bluffs Yard. The blend level was increased to B20 in September. In December, the locomotive will switch back to straight diesel fuel to complete the comparative analysis. After every fuel change, an engine analysis is done.

“Our company has been looking at biodiesel as an alternative to diesel fuel for some time,” said IAIS President & CEO Dennis H. Miller. “This could open the door for over 600 other railroads to have another source of fuel to use in their locomotives that burns cleaner and is environmentally friendly.”

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