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Eliminating Harmful Japan Rail Emissions

Hotstart helps company reduce local emissions, improve locomotive performance

Posted on January 29, 2013

Hotstart and Iwate Kaihatsu Railways have collaborated to install and monitor the HOTflow CSM Engine Heater on one of the Japanese company’s locomotives. Complaints from the residents of nearby Ofunato about the excessive engine exhaust smoke each morning spurred Iwate’s efforts to reduce the impact on the local environment.

The locomotives, each hauling 18 cement cars capable of carrying almost 32 tonnes each, normally make 13 trips from the valley mine to the processing plant in Ofunato and back.

The Spokane, Washington, U.S.-based company provided the HOTflow CSM Engine Heater, designed to preheat engine coolant and circulate it through the engine to keep it warm and ready for a quick start-up.

The Iwate locomotives are equipped with two 6-cylinder 35 L engines, one on each side of the cab. The CSM was installed on one of the engines to measure the engine exhaust smoke produced from a preheated engine versus a cold-start engine. Over a 2.5-hour period, the CSM raised the ambient engine temperature to approximately 80oF, a total difference of 35o

Hotstart said that after starting the heated engine, there was a 50% decrease in engine exhaust smoke. While that was a great improvement, the company wanted to see if the engine heater would further reduce the exhaust, so it switched out the 6kW heating element with a 9kW element and performed a second test. The temperature of the engine rose to approximately 100oF over a 3.5-hour period.

Hotstart said the engine started on the first crank with nearly nonexistent exhaust smoke; comparatively, the second engine not heated with the CSM put out the same levels of engine exhaust smoke that had been the cause of the residents’ complaints.

Iwate plans to install the heaters on their four locomotives and set them on timers to be heated and ready to go before the start of each work day.