Cleaner Diesel Vehicles soon running on European Tracks

Yesterday the European rail research project CleanER-D (Clean European Rail-Diesel) held its midterm conference, bringing about a lively discussion among engine and rolling stock manufacturers as well as operators on expected results after 2 years of cross-sector collaboration in the consortium.

The conference was jointly hosted by the project coordinator UNIFE, the European Rail Industry and the International Union of Railways (UIC) together with 23 CleanER-D partners. CleanER-D is a project partly funded by the European Commission to develop, improve and integrate emissions reduction technologies for diesel locomotives and rail vehicles.

Diesel propulsion will still play an important role on the European rail network as a large part thereof is still not electrified, and it retains a major role in rail freight transport.

Although the level of development of rail network differs starkly from country to country, train operating companies still depend on diesel traction across the whole European continent. In order to take Diesel propulsion into the future of European transport, the CleanER-D consortium made considerable progress towards complying with the challenging emission limits set by the European Commission.

The speakers of the demonstration projects presented their approach to complying with the emission levels below the limits established by the new European Directive 2004/26/ EC by the refurbishment of existing rolling stock and development of a new locomotive. The possibilities to refurbish existing locomotive or diesel multiple unit fleets in order to reduce the costs for procurement of new vehicles were outlined.

In addition to that, focus was on the evaluation of innovative and hybrid solutions for the best possible contribution to reductions in CO2 and pollutant emissions. The sustainability study covering diesel performance and emission represents a mid-term success of CleanER-D. The European Commission contributed their vision on sustainable products and future emission limits to be expected in the Non Road Mobile Machinery Directive (NRMM) and set a clear framework and leitmotif for future R&D activities in this field.

The day concluded with an outlook on the next steps within the CleanER-D project including the refurbishment of a Czech DMU railcar, a German main line locomotive and the roll out of a new main line locomotive from Spain.

CleanER-D has proven that Diesel propulsion fulfils the new exhaust gas limits and that freight and passenger services hauled by Diesel can be very innovative and state-of-the-art technology.

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