Fuel additives for less CO2 on rail: Grampet Group tests new solution

Photo: Pixabay. Andre Sudholt

Tests undertaken in three locomotives in Romania by Grampet Group involve using a pretty innovative product. A fuel additive, the SulNOxEco™ Fuel Conditioner developed by the UK-based company SulNOx, claims to be able to revolutionise the combustion profile of fossil fuels and decrease their emissions significantly.

Grampet Group uses approximately 10,000 tonnes of diesel annually in its operations. To narrow this number down, just the three locomotives testing SulNOx’s fuel additive use about 40,000 litres of fuel per month to move. Understandably, such extensive use of fossil fuels results in massive CO2 emissions. Yet, there is space to reduce them without shifting to more sustainable fuels. Here is how.

Are fuel additives something new?

Fuel additives used for combustion engines like these of diesel locomotives are not a groundbreaking innovation. They have existed for years and what they simply do is enhancing the fuel’s ability to burn as efficiently as possible and release the maximum energy for a vehicle to run.

Most of the time, fuel additives are also fossil fuel-based, explains SulNOx, making their use look like “adding more fossil fuel in the fossil fuel”. As a result, in SulNOx’s understanding, innovating fuel additives is like fighting CO2 emissions and pollution from the inside. That being said, implementing a solution with fuel additives made with natural and biodegradable ingredients that “make fuels combust cleaner and more efficiently” results in fewer emissions.

A realistic solution

Of course, the ultimate goal for transport and the rail sector is full decarbonisation. Running on clean electricity or hydrogen is integrally positioned in the sustainability strategy of many railway companies. Yet, from a realistic point of view, this might be a long-term goal. Be it infrastructure discrepancies when it comes to electrification or immense costs when buying new rolling stock or revamping old one, the rail industry is not quite there yet with fully sustainable fuels.

As a result, a solution that could minimise the emissions of heavily used fossil fuels could, at least, be the starting point in the race for decarbonisation. This means that until infrastructure and rolling stock reach the long-term goal of decarbonisation, in the meantime, there is still action to be taken by, for instance, minimising the emissions on existing rolling stock running on diesel or other fossil fuels.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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