Rolling stock asset management company Porterbrook is working with South Western Railway and vehicle exhaust manufacturer Eminox to fit catalytic converters to hundreds of diesel trains across the UK’s rail network. The aim is to reduce NOx (nitrous oxide) emissions by over 80 per cent and CO (carbon monoxide) and hydrocarbons by over 90 per cent from current levels.
Well known for its smart stainless-steel exhaust systems, which can be seen on many of the large, articulated lorries that travel the motorway network on a daily basis, Eminox is a privately-owned company that was established in 1978 and has its head office and manufacturing facilities in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.
As well as designing and manufacturing systems to reduce emissions for bus, truck, rail, marine and non-road mobile machines around the world, Eminox is a leading supplier of emission control systems for retrofit to existing vehicles. These systems include the Continuously Regenerating Trap (CRT) and SCRT®, a technology that combines CRT and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to produce a system which reduces particulate matter by both mass and number.
The trial will involve fitment of Eminox SCRT technology to a South Western Railway (SWR) Class 159 diesel multiple unit, which will be fitted with state-of-the-art telemetry to provide real-time diagnostics and performance data. The project team will then work to overcome some already-known challenges that are specific to rail applications, such as high exhaust temperature duty cycles, utilising advanced catalyst technology for the first time in a rail application.
Once it is successfully developed, this innovation is likely to be deployed on a number of existing diesel train fleets.
Eminox’s retrofit sales director Carlos Vicente said: “Eminox retrofit technology will help reduce diesel particulate matter from the rail network and deliver environmental benefits to the communities the railway serves. This is part of the government’s drive to a cleaner, greener economy by cutting emissions and removing diesel-only trains from the network by 2040.”
Porterbrook CEO Mary Grant added: “As a rolling stock asset management business, Porterbrook takes seriously its responsibility to develop innovative ways of reducing emissions. We are particularly pleased to be able to do this by drawing on proven technologies from other sectors.
“By partnering with automotive after-treatment specialists Eminox, we can accelerate the delivery of cleaner and more environmentally friendly trains to Britain’s railways.”
This project to reduce diesel emissions, which also forms part of SWR’s commitment to achieving a 56 per cent reduction in traction carbon emissions by 2023/24, is being supported by the Department for Transport’s Accelerating Innovation in Rail scheme through InnovateUK’s ‘first-of-a-kind’ funding (FoaK2).