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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:D Yep, no foolin. No Canary jokes. No bearskin humor. :D

In this week's Time mag, July 11 05, pg A14, in a major article about GE's new CEO looking at many "green" opportunities, they show a pic of GE's coming hybrid locomotive.

Caption says: "Imagine a 400 ton Prius :shock: , and you get GE's hybrid locomotive, due in 2007. The gas-electric engine will be 10-15% more fuel efficient than the conventional model."

I am cleaning out my garage, I want one of those to go up against the H2 on the freeway. Prius is no longer to be pushed around by the schoolyard bully. We have BIG IRON on our side.
 

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Now you've completely derailed my train of thought...
 

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This wouldn't be the first time that GM did something that didn't make sense to me. Conventional diesel-electric locomotives are already the most energy-effiicient way we have of transporting things on land. A 10 to 15 percent gain doesn't seem like that much of an incentive. (As opposed to pushing around Hummers!)

Digression: No matter how many times my wife and I try to explain the Prius' dual locomotion to him, my 84-year-old father-in-law defaults to a diesel-electric locomotive concept of how the Prius works. "I understand it," he says, just a little testily (in general he's an amazingly patient man, but he seems put off by our insistence on what to him must seem like a bizarre misunderstanding); "The motor powers the wheels, and the gasoline engine generates the electricty." Showing him the energy screen has no discernible effect.
 

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I like the big ol' hummer shovel on the front end. :) Prolly could get a couple on there before it got too full! ;)
 

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10-15% fuel savings is a huge incentive to railroads. They spend more buying fuel than they do buying locomotives. As new pollution regs go into effect over the next several years the emissions reduction is also important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
richard schumacher said:
10-15% fuel savings is a huge incentive to railroads. They spend more buying fuel than they do buying locomotives. As new pollution regs go into effect over the next several years the emissions reduction is also important.
Yeh, I dont think you make a 400 ton ANYTHING just to be a nice guy. You have to have done your financial justification homework.
 

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coloradospringsprius said:
Digression: No matter how many times my wife and I try to explain the Prius' dual locomotion to him, my 84-year-old father-in-law defaults to a diesel-electric locomotive concept of how the Prius works. "I understand it," he says, just a little testily (in general he's an amazingly patient man, but he seems put off by our insistence on what to him must seem like a bizarre misunderstanding); "The motor powers the wheels, and the gasoline engine generates the electricty." Showing him the energy screen has no discernible effect.
Just say 'Well, yes, but the transmission also allows the engine to directly power the wheels at the same time as the motor."

I don't get the big whoopla about hybrid locos. They already were hybrids, as are ships. Only possible improvements are to use batteries to store reserve energy, and regenerative energy. Might help a bit also if the diesel engine can drive the wheels once the loco gets its momentum.
 

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I was thinking like you, Dan, that the locomotives were already hybrids. But on reading about a "Yard Switcher" Hybrid, I found the hybrid had some changes. It uses a much smaller diesel motor, 165 hp as opposed to 2000 hp and a huge lead/acid battery. They actually like the weight of the battery as it gives better traction. The diesel also runs at a constant power (when running) and is tuned for that speed. They don't do regenerative braking, though.

A lot of fuel is saved just by the fact that locomotives spend a lot of time just idling.
 

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As others mentioned, locomotives already were hybrids. Once, like 40 years ago, they tried pure diesels but they just weren't nearly as good as hybrids. They also tried turbine-electrics and other weird things, but we all know what works the best. :) Electrics and gas/electrics all the way.
 

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Rich D. said:
I was thinking like you, Dan, that the locomotives were already hybrids. But on reading about a "Yard Switcher" Hybrid, I found the hybrid had some changes. It uses a much smaller diesel motor, 165 hp as opposed to 2000 hp and a huge lead/acid battery. They actually like the weight of the battery as it gives better traction. The diesel also runs at a constant power (when running) and is tuned for that speed. They don't do regenerative braking, though.

A lot of fuel is saved just by the fact that locomotives spend a lot of time just idling.
So, the difference is, What?
 

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What's the difference between the new hybrids and the old?

The old diesel locomotives had a diesel engine that drove a generator to supply electricity to electric motors that drove the wheels. There were no batteries. The "electrical connection" between the diesel and the wheels was done for other reasons than fuel and emission saving. Low end torque? No drive shaft? I don't know all the answers. But anyway, the new hybrids do have a battery so the diesel can run more efficiently at a constant speed and not at all when the engine is idle. They used keep the engines running (idling).

There's more interesting stuff to read at the above web site.
 

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Another reason for electric motors is that they cannot be damaged as easily as the internal parts of a diessel engine.

If you apply great enough opposing force to any internal combustion engine, you can break things inside it. If you apply a great enough opposing force to an electric motor, you can "stop" the motor by applying enough forct to overcome the force of the magnetic field...and you don't break any internal parts.

I saw a blurb about the big ice-breaker ships they use in Lake Superior. They are diessel generator/electric motor driven too, just like locomotives without batteries. I remember them saying something about backing up and going forward to ram and break the ice. Sometimes they back up into huge ice floes, hitting them with the propeller. If they get stuck, it can actually stop the electric motor from rotating, possibly bending or breaking a propeller, but not much else.

It's easier and cheaper to just replace a propeller and possibly a shaft than it would be to have to change out a whole diessel engine (or more than one, because some ships, like trains and old World War II submarines, use multiples in series).

Anyhow, that's what I know. Hope it helps.
 

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Very interesting, and here's so more from:

http://travel.howstuffworks.com/diesel-locomotive1.htm


"The main reason why diesel locomotives are hybrid is because this eliminates the need for a mechanical transmission, as found in cars. Let's start by understanding why cars have transmissions.
...

Its [locomotive diesel] idle speed is around 269 rpm, and its maximum speed is only 904 rpm. With a speed range like this, a locomotive would need 20 or 30 gears to make it up to 110 mph (177 kph)."

There's also a bit about steel wheels and rolling resistance, a hot topic around here. :) Oh and low rolling resistance means less traction another debated topic.
 

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Adding batteries makes sense. Then you can make small movements of the loco without starting the engine. However, that may cause accidents of running over people and things unaware that the train is silently moving.

As for transmissions, maybe semi's should go at least series hybrid. They have lots of gears.
 

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Actually, one of the benifits of the hybrid is the reduced noise that the driver has to put up with. They claim less fatigue. As for the people being run over, well their little video (on the above site) was showing how similar the drive controls were, "Here's the brake, here's the bell..."
 

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DanMan32 said:
Adding batteries makes sense. Then you can make small movements of the loco without starting the engine. However, that may cause accidents of running over people and things unaware that the train is silently moving.

As for transmissions, maybe semi's should go at least series hybrid. They have lots of gears.
I dunno...I always HEAR and FEEL the ground vibrations a train makes when it's moving. Don't you? It doesn't matter if those hundreds or thousands of tons are being moved with a quiet or a noisy engine. I could swear that the wheels must be square, because I can hear and feel the ground moving with a loud KLUNK, KLUNK, KLUNK!!
 
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