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Testing B20 biodiesel in Tampa locomotive fleet demonstrates cutting-edge innovation

Photo: CSX

CSX announced July 14 that the company’s “culture of collaboration and commitment to sustainability are coming together in a project aimed at certifying alternative-fuel use in locomotives.”

Testing of 20 percent biodiesel made from soybean oil in a locomotive fleet serving a Tampa, Florida, phosphate customer began in 2022 to demonstrate the effectiveness of the B20 biodiesel blend in Wabtec FDL Advantage engines.

The project, according to CSX, continues to yield impressive results.

The 10 locomotives in the test have burned more than 200,000 gallons of B20 fuel, which reduces greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by nearly 20 percent.

The goals of the project are to provide verified emissions-reduction data, monitor the impacts of burning B20 on locomotive-engine components, and gain approval from U.S. EPA for long-term use of higher biodiesel-fuel blends in locomotives.

“It’s a win long term for us, but it’s also a win for our shippers,” said Arthur Adams, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “I’m excited about the broader impact this will have in enabling our customers to accelerate some of the commitments they’ve made to their customers to reduce their environmental footprint.”

The project is a prime example of collaboration, involving CSX, the locomotive manufacturer and the customer.

Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Wabtec has modernized the 10 AC4400 locomotives with FDL Advantage engine technology and will periodically perform necessary EPA emissions testing on these units at its Erie, Pennsylvania, facility.

In addition, the CSX mechanical department has been collecting B20 samples to verify its composition.

The phosphate customer, Mosaic, has also been a key partner in the project.

As a company with a strong environmental commitment of its own, Mosaic agreed to allow the testing to take place on the fleet that operates in dedicated service to its mining, manufacturing and distribution operations in the Tampa area.

Operating the locomotives in closed-loop service has provided a controlled test environment.

CSX expects to complete the test this year and submit the data to EPA in 2024.



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