UK-funded project reduces NOx emissions from trains in stations by 80%

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A project to reduce NOx emissions from trains in enclosed stations has delivered positive results during its first phase, delivering a circa 80% reduction in emissions when an engine is idling.

The feasibility project was led by British rolling stock company Porterbrook and UK exhaust and emissions control systems manufacturing company Eminox. It was funded by the UK Department of Transport’s First of a Kind 2022 initiative, which aims to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable technologies to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system.

The NOx emissions project was built on a previous FOAK-funded initiative in which the companies developed an exhaust after-treatment system (EATS) that significantly reduces harmful emissions from mid-life diesel trains.

However, testing showed that while the EATS system was highly effective when the train was moving and the exhaust gases were at an optimal temperature, its impact reduced when the train was static, and the exhaust gas temperature dropped.

The latest Emission Reduction in Closed Stations (ERiCS) project sought to address this through the introduction of an electrical heater to the Diesel Oxidisation Catalyst in the EATS and explore the feasibility of installing the solution on Class 158, 159 and 170 units.

Porterbrook and Eminox commenced the development and bench testing of the solution in October 2022, following confirmation that FOAK funding had been awarded. The results from the test rig and vehicle surveys undertaken by consultancy Pendyne demonstrate that ERiCS can feasibly be fitted to the trains and can significantly enhance the performance of the EATS by potentially achieving up to 80% conversion of NOx whilst the engine is idling.