NCDOT Locomotive’s Emission-Reduction Technology EPA Certified Thursday, February 15, 2018

RALEIGH – North Carolina’s air will be a bit cleaner starting this year now that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has certified a specialized emissions reduction system for one of the N.C. Department of Transportation Rail Division’s passenger locomotives.

The system, known as a Blended After-Treatment System (BATS), uses catalytic reduction to chemically remove diesel engine emission pollutants from the locomotive’s exhaust before it is released into the air.  The technology was developed for use on passenger locomotives by California-based Rail Propulsion Systems.

The NCDOT Rail Division has collaborated with RPS for the past two years to install and test the functionality of BATS. Specifically, it is designed to reduce four diesel exhaust pollutants: nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and particulate matter – all of which are identified by the EPA as causing chronic negative health effects such as heart and lung disease.

Charles Edwards, NCDOT Rail Division Acting Director, said NCDOT is the first rail agency in the country to successfully demonstrate the technology on an in-service passenger locomotive.  “This is another positive step in our ongoing efforts to be a leader in helping reduce air-pollution levels across the state,” Edwards said. “This very cost-effective, innovative technology will help ensure that North Carolina is a wonderful place to live and work in every day.”

The EPA certification will enable the Rail Division to pursue state and federal grant opportunities to retrofit BATS onto its full fleet of locomotives, further reducing air pollution along the NCDOT Piedmont route between Raleigh and Charlotte.

Every county along the Piedmont rail corridor has high levels of one or more types of air pollution, according to the EPA. By implementing the BATS, the Rail Division is working to improve air quality across the state, including in many of the major metropolitan areas which are particularly affected by air pollution.

Ian Stewart, CEO of Rail Propulsion Systems, said the BATS technology will make NCDOT one of the nation’s cleanest rail agencies once it is fully retrofitted on the entire fleet.

“The BATS certification is the latest in a series of successes achieved through the collaboration between Rail Propulsion Systems, NCDOT and its engineering group, McDowell Engineers and Associates, and RailPlan mechanics and staff,” Stewart said. “This is a major milestone toward efforts to efficiently improve air quality, and North Carolina is leading the way.”


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NCDOT locomotive 1859 fitted with the Blended After-Treatment System (BATS). Photo: Rail Propulsion Systems

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