Rolls-Royce Releases mtu Rail Engines for Sustainable Fuels
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Rolls-Royce Releases mtu Rail Engines for Sustainable Fuels

Up to 90% CO2 savings by operating existing engines with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil

Rolls-Royce is taking a significant step towards even more climate-friendly rail transport with the release of mtu rail engines for use with sustainable fuels.

With synthetic diesel fuels of the EN15940 standard, CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to 100% compared to fossil diesel. Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO or renewable diesel), which is already commercially available today, reduces CO2 emissions by up to 90%.

If the fuels are produced with the help of renewable energy and green hydrogen – through what is termed a Power-to-X process – existing rail vehicles can be operated in a completely CO2-neutral manner.

The mtu Series 1800 engines which are used in mtu PowerPacks, as well as Series 1300 and 1500 for locomotives and multi-purpose vehicles, are already approved for use with synthetic fuels such as HVO.

Series 1600 and versions of Series 4000 engines will follow in the near future. The release of engines for climate-friendly fuels requires a series of tests and trials and Rolls-Royce has found strong partners for this activity.

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DB Cargo and RDC Autozug Sylt have already tested or are currently testing mtu Series 4000 engines with HVO in their locomotives.

Jürgen Blassmann, Director Rail Business at Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems, said: “HVO allows our customers to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with existing vehicles and engines and to make an important contribution to climate protection today.

"Emissions of soot and nitrogen oxide are also significantly reduced – without having to make any changes to the drive system or infrastructure. No significant changes in performance were observed and availability and service life of our engines remain unchanged."

Green transformation: DB Cargo relies on mtu engines and HVO

Ali Dogru, Head of Assets and Maintenance at DB Cargo explains : “Phasing out fossil diesel is one of the important pillars of DB’s efforts to become climate-neutral by 2040.

“It is very important for us that the existing engines in our shunting and mainline locomotives can be operated with HVO without restriction. This means that we can already make the last mile of the supply chain green and run freight trains for our customers in a completely CO2-neutral way.”

With 90% less CO2 to Sylt

Passengers can now travel to the German island of Sylt by land in an even more climate-friendly way than before.

RDC Autozug Sylt and Rolls-Royce have recently started HVO field trials with a Vectron DE diesel-electric locomotive equipped with an mtu engine of type 4000 R04, which meets the strict EU Stage IIIB emission regulations for rail drives.

“The use of HVO is another important step towards improving the carbon footprint of our products,” said Anita Hallmann, Head of Corporate Communications at RDC Deutschland Group.

HVO use significantly reduces CO2, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions

Waste vegetable and animal fats and used vegetable oils can be used as base materials for HVO, which are converted into hydrocarbons by means of a catalytic reaction with the addition of hydrogen.

Through this process, the properties of the fats and vegetable oils are adapted to diesel fuel and can supplement it as an admixture or replace it completely.

The benefits of HVO are clean combustion with reductions in particulate emissions of up to 80%, nitrogen oxide emissions by an average of eight percent, and (depending on the manufacturing process and feedstock) CO2 emissions by up to 90 percent compared to fossil diesel.

Rolls-Royce announced in 2021, as part of its sustainability programme “Net Zero at Power Systems”, that it would realign its product portfolio so that by 2030, new fuels and mtu technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% compared to 2019.

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