BNSF Honored for Clean Air Technology Developments in Southern California

Jun 11, 2013 11:15 AM ET

BNSF honored for clean air technology developments in Southern California

BNSF received the 2013 Innovation Breath of Life Award from BREATHE LA for exemplary work on clean air initiatives and technological advances to reduce emissions.

BREATHE LA, founded in 1903, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting clean air and healthy lungs through research, education, and technology.

According to BREATHE LA, the Breath of Life Awards serve to “recognize environmental standards and emissions reduction efforts to ensure that our community is no longer disproportionally impacted by pollution generated by the high volume of goods movement.”

BNSF is being honored for its leadership in hybrid energy options, research into liquefied natural gas, and implementation of wide-span electric cranes.

“At BNSF, we take a great deal of pride in our environmental stewardship,” said John Lovenburg, BNSF vice president, Environmental. “We are honored to be recognized with this award for our efforts to reduce emissions while moving the nation’s freight.”

Since 2000, BNSF has purchased 3,000 new locomotives and have remanufactured 2,400 existing locomotives. These investments, along with the installation of idle-control technology, have resulted in a significant decrease in emissions and better fuel efficiency.

Later this year, BNSF will test liquefied natural gas as fuel in locomotives in a variety of weather and grade conditions. The use of natural gas as a transportation fuel results in the emission of fewer greenhouse gases and particulates than diesel fuel. “It’s a sustainability win-win,” said Lovenburg. “This is an exciting opportunity that is generating interest across the railroad industry.”

Electric wide span cranes have been installed in three facilities across the country, with a fourth planned in the L.A. area for the Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) project. These cranes do not produce any local emissions and generate energy when the cranes are lowered.

BNSF has also tested experimental hydrogen fuel cell locomotive technology, which yields primarily water vapors as emissions. The venture previously developed a successful 2,000 horsepower test. The development team is now expanding the test locomotive with a second generation fuel cell and upgraded control systems.

“Locomotives are already three times more fuel efficient than transport by trucks. Our efforts to green our fleet are investments that push the envelope of what is already the most sustainable option,” Lovenburg said.