NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads

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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby ThirdRail7 » Tue May 22, 2012 2:35 pm

A brief "fair use quote:"


CSR Project 130 has a simple goal: create the world’s cleanest, most powerful passenger locomotive, proving the viability of solid biofuel and modern steam locomotive technology. The Coalition will put its technology to the test by planning to break the world record for steam locomotive speed, reaching 130 miles per hour and demonstrating the viability of this revolutionary, clean transportation technology.

The locomotive will run on torrefied biomass (biocoal), a biofuel created through an energy-efficient processing of cellulosic biomass. Biocoal exhibits the same energy density and material handling properties as coal, but unlike coal, it is carbon neutral, contains no heavy metals, and produces less ash, smoke and volatile off-gases. Since it exhibits such similar characteristics to coal, biocoal has the potential to revolutionize the way the United States generates clean electricity.



Image

PS: Why is this in the Amtrak forum again?
I want my road foreman!
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby bostontrainguy » Tue May 22, 2012 2:53 pm

ThirdRail7 wrote:A brief "fair use quote:"


CSR Project 130 has a simple goal: create the world’s cleanest, most powerful passenger locomotive, proving the viability of solid biofuel and modern steam locomotive technology. The Coalition will put its technology to the test by planning to break the world record for steam locomotive speed, reaching 130 miles per hour and demonstrating the viability of this revolutionary, clean transportation technology.

The locomotive will run on torrefied biomass (biocoal), a biofuel created through an energy-efficient processing of cellulosic biomass. Biocoal exhibits the same energy density and material handling properties as coal, but unlike coal, it is carbon neutral, contains no heavy metals, and produces less ash, smoke and volatile off-gases. Since it exhibits such similar characteristics to coal, biocoal has the potential to revolutionize the way the United States generates clean electricity.



Image

PS: Why is this in the Amtrak forum again?


I posted it on the Amtrak forum originally because it is supposed to be a passenger locomotive, but then thought it was way too interesting not to include it in the locomotive forum. Sorry but it's just so surprising a story.
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby Paulus Magnus » Tue May 22, 2012 7:40 pm

Nifty from a steampunk perspective, but rather pointless and never adopted by anyone outside of some tourist/heritage railroads. Acceleration is the single most important quality a locomotive can have and steam's worse in that regards than diesel and absolutely laughable compared to electric multiple units.
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby bostontrainguy » Tue May 22, 2012 8:29 pm

I know. It's almost like an April Fools story in a railfan magazine!
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby pebbleworm » Wed May 23, 2012 8:05 pm

The claim is it's quicker to accelerate:
http://www.csrail.org/index.php/the-tra ... am/quicker
My question is how much energy it takes to roast the fuel vs. the energy you get out. I keep thinking of the corn/ethanol scam...
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby Paulus Magnus » Wed May 23, 2012 9:10 pm

pebbleworm wrote:The claim is it's quicker to accelerate:
http://www.csrail.org/index.php/the-tra ... am/quicker
My question is how much energy it takes to roast the fuel vs. the energy you get out. I keep thinking of the corn/ethanol scam...


It might have faster acceleration above a certain speed, but getting to that speed is the issue, and anyone seriously interested in higher speed rail and acceleration will be using MUs and electrification.
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby amtrakowitz » Wed May 23, 2012 9:30 pm

Paulus Magnus wrote:Nifty from a steampunk perspective, but rather pointless and never adopted by anyone outside of some tourist/heritage railroads. Acceleration is the single most important quality a locomotive can have and steam's worse in that regards than diesel and absolutely laughable compared to electric multiple units.

That's too general of a statement. Steam locomotive acceleration varies from unit to unit, and according to how much of a load being hauled. There's also the matter of the power curve being more broad with steam power.

And the most rapid acceleration is only important for commuter and urban railroads. For (modern) long-distance express trains, top end is more important. If France had the kind of access to cheap fuel that the USA had, the TGV could have stayed with gas-turbine traction.
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby Paulus Magnus » Thu May 24, 2012 4:12 pm

amtrakowitz wrote:And the most rapid acceleration is only important for commuter and urban railroads. For (modern) long-distance express trains, top end is more important. If France had the kind of access to cheap fuel that the USA had, the TGV could have stayed with gas-turbine traction.


Oil is a world market good, they had just as much access as did the US, though they did make a strategic decision to limit their dependence on oil as much as possible. And top speed, while important for long distance, is dependent on track rather than traction. There's also a design issue in reducing weight as much as possible which makes electric, especially MU, preferable over GTs.
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby KEN PATRICK » Sat May 26, 2012 12:01 pm

just when i thought the environmental loons have drunk the kool-aid, they emerge in Minnesota. how much of a federal grant was wasted on this flight of fantasy? the material handling alone would doom anything like this. did our pond scum energy sec put this in his 'green' quiver? ken patrick
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby Mr.T » Sat May 26, 2012 1:54 pm

KEN PATRICK wrote:just when i thought the environmental loons have drunk the kool-aid, they emerge in Minnesota. how much of a federal grant was wasted on this flight of fantasy? the material handling alone would doom anything like this. did our pond scum energy sec put this in his 'green' quiver? ken patrick


The real hurdle isn't the fuel handling, but the re-establishment of a water supply infrastructure. It would need to be a specialized supply with a high flow rate to refill the tender quickly. It's not like they could simply attach a garden hose to the spigot at the station, that would take too long. There's also the issue of water treatment so that minerals don't cause boiler scale. If it were a condensing engine, that would reduce the number of re-watering facilities needed, but I didn't see anything at their website about condensing. I'm wondering if their studies about the costs and environmental impacts took into account the impact of the water usage.
Also, I think that name-calling the Energy Secretary is somewhat uncalled for.
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby Eliphaz » Sat May 26, 2012 2:48 pm

pebbleworm wrote:My question is how much energy it takes to roast the fuel vs. the energy you get out. I keep thinking of the corn/ethanol scam...


I can put figures to that. I have some experience in this area. In average terms, wood in the bone dry state has a heating value of around 8500 btu/lb, and newly cut "whole tree" wood has a moisture content of around 45%, giving a net HHV of 4675 btu/lb. To evaporate that moisture down to 5%, (which is the standard for pellet fuel, it isn't mentioned in the article, but I assume a similar number for "torrefied biomass or biocoal") would require 970btu X .45 or 388 btu per pound of green fuel, or say 8% of the feed stock. In addition from long practice the forestry industry has arrived at a reliable "rule of thumb" of 2% of feed stock energy required in the form of diesel fuel to cut, chip and cart fuel from the woods to the plant site.
Woody biomass therefor can be said to have a 10% parasitic cost of preparation. This compares favorably to coal, when you consider the mining machinery and cartage, and to petro-diesel fuel when you consider the extraction, shipping and refining steps.

I have not examined the corn/ethanol process rigorously, but I have seen what goes into farming corn, and it aint that much. I expect the parasitic cost of ethanol is not much larger than 10% of feedstock, and I am sceptical of the objections to ethanol made on the thermodynamic basis.
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby Allen Hazen » Sat May 26, 2012 7:14 pm

Eliphaz--
Thanks for the numbers!

Given the limited size of a locomotive boiler, the use of "terrified" biomass makes sense. (That is, makes sense if you are going to use biomass in a steam locomotive at all. I remain sceptical about the chance of this project leading to widespread changes in railroad operations, though it is super-cool as a technology demonstrator/p.r. stunt.) If you were building a stationary power plant, could you design in a larger combustion chamber and use fresh-cut wood, skipping the torrefication step?
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby Eliphaz » Sat May 26, 2012 10:39 pm

Allen Hazen wrote:Eliphaz--
Thanks for the numbers!

Given the limited size of a locomotive boiler, the use of "terrified" biomass makes sense. (That is, makes sense if you are going to use biomass in a steam locomotive at all. I remain sceptical about the chance of this project leading to widespread changes in railroad operations, though it is super-cool as a technology demonstrator/p.r. stunt.) If you were building a stationary power plant, could you design in a larger combustion chamber and use fresh-cut wood, skipping the torrefication step?


indeed, there are dozens of wood burning power plants across the US and Canada, and elsewhere, built mostly in the period 1980-1992, ranging in size from 12 to 75 MW. Many more boilers of similar size ranges provide steam to various thermal processes, in particular pulp and paper making. I spent the first 20 years of my career in those plants, in construction, operation and management.
Almost all of them use green wood chips from forestry cutting, tho there are a few with fuel pre-dryers. Almost all are overfeed stoker fired radiant furnace boilers, tho there are a few fluidized-bed boilers. The dryers and fluidized beds are only justifiable in certain local cases where the fuel is very wet, or very dirty. Once the furnace is at operating temperature green wood burns well.

Pellet manufacture for residential heating boilers uses rotary kiln dryers where the ground wood passes through the flue gas from a wood fired boiler. steam from the boiler drives the auxiliaries, and the heat in the flue gas is dropped to quite a low temperature by evaporating the moisture in the wood dryer. a very efficient, self contained arrangement.
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Re: NEW CLEAN STEAM ENGINE IN THE WORKS

Postby steamfan1945 » Mon May 28, 2012 10:27 pm

As much as I like steam, I don't ever see this project going anywhere, at least concerning locomotives. Seems to be an attempt similar to the ACE 3000 project from the 1980's, and I think Ross had a better grasp of actual railroad operations/finances than these guys do. I really hate to say this, but I think this group is just attempting to jump on the current green energy grant craze. I could be wrong, but I am not holding my breath for this venture to be successful...
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