Tests of diesel trains running on biofuel were successful
The National Society of Railways of France (SNCF) announced the successful completion of tests of 15 regional diesel trains that ran on biofuel derived from rapeseed. Their total mileage reached 3.5 million km. Trains were tested on the line that connects Paris and Granville, located in Normandy on the coast of the English Channel. Railway Supply magazine writes about this with reference to zdmira.
The use of clean (B100) biofuels can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60% compared to diesel fuel and does not require engine adaptation. In addition, emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter are reduced by 50%.
During testing, the trains were fueled with Oleo100 biofuel at a depot in Granville. The biofuel was produced at the Grand Couron plant, also in Normandy. Such biofuels have been legally approved for use in railway transport in France since 2018.
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Tests of trains on biofuel were carried out as part of a joint project between SNCF and Normandy, they were funded by the authorities of this region. The first stage of testing continued from April 2021 for 3 months. In July 2022, the authorities of the region authorized the continuation of testing. After their completion, the use of biofuel on the Paris-Granville line will continue. The possibility of transferring trains running on other lines to biofuel is being studied.
Currently, the share of diesel fuel in the total energy consumption of French regional trains is 26%. SNCF is implementing the PlaneTER project, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality in regional rail transport by 2050. It involves phasing out diesel trains in favor of hybrid, hydrogen-fueled and traction battery rolling stock
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