Cost-benefit analysis of alternative fuels and motive designs.
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Cost-benefit analysis of alternative fuels and motive designs.

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      This project was funded by the Federal Railroad Administration to better understand the potential cost and benefits of using alternative fuels for U.S. freight and passenger locomotive operations. The framework for a decision model was developed by Transportation Technology Center, Inc., to evaluate the feasibility of these newly emerging technologies. Because these alternatives (fuels and engine designs) are at early stages of development, the objective is to identify the most feasible alternatives and support their future development. Various government agencies, U.S. railroads, and the original equipment manufacturers of locomotives are considered the primary stakeholders in this study.

      The biodiesel blend of B20 is compared with the baseline technology (petroleum diesel) using an operating scenario for Class I railroad line-haul operations in 2010 to demonstrate the decision model approach in this study from a volumetric standpoint. This is not a recommendation for using B20 in railroad operations, but it is a good case with which to illustrate the decision framework developed to analyze alternative fuels for future research and development initiatives. The main drivers for the decision model identified in this research effort are cost, energy security, emissions, safety, and efficiency. Under each decision driver, there are multiple criteria that may be used for comparison between proposed alternatives. The goal is to understand if the criteria under the decision drivers are independently a cost or a benefit to industry stakeholders compared with the baseline.

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