Announce Coalition to Develop the World’s Cleanest Passenger Locomotive

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Tue May 22 10:05:41 EDT 2012

*Sustainable Rail International, University of Minnesota*

*Announce Coalition to Develop the World’s Cleanest Passenger Locomotive*

*New steam engine has the potential to change both
the rail industry and clean energy research*

*MINNEAPOLIS - *Plans to create the world's first carbon-neutral
higher-speed locomotive were announced today by the Coalition for
Sustainable Rail (CSR), a collaboration of the University of Minnesota's
Institute on the Environment (IonE) and the nonprofit Sustainable Rail
International (SRI). CSR draws on the carbon-neutral solid biofuel research
expertise of the University of Minnesota and the modern steam mechanical
engineering capabilities of SRI to develop the most powerful carbon-neutral
locomotive to date.

CSR Project 130 has a simple goal: create the world's cleanest, most
powerful passenger locomotive, proving the viability of solid biofuel and
modern steam locomotive technology. The Coalition will put its technology
to the test by planning to break the world record for steam locomotive
speed, reaching 130 miles per hour and demonstrating the viability of this
revolutionary, clean transportation technology.

The locomotive will run on torrefied biomass (biocoal), a biofuel created
through an energy-efficient processing of cellulosic biomass. Biocoal
exhibits the same energy density and material handling properties as coal,
but unlike coal, it is carbon neutral, contains no heavy metals, and
produces less ash, smoke and volatile off-gases. Since it exhibits such
similar characteristics to coal, biocoal has the potential to revolutionize
the way the United States generates clean electricity.

"Participation in the Coalition for Sustainable Rail has enabled our team
to pursue one of the more exciting and potentially groundbreaking research
projects in the history of IonE," said Rod Larkins, Special Projects
Director of IonE's Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.
"Once perfected, creating the world's first carbon-neutral locomotive will
be just the beginning for this technology which, we hope, will later be
used for combined heat and power energy in the developing world as well as
reducing the United States' dependence on fossil fuels."

Preliminary research shows that CSR's test locomotive will cost less to
maintain and less to fuel, and will exhibit greater train handling
performance than any diesel-electric locomotives available today. The
modern steam locomotive has relied on technology that has been neglected
for decades. This is about to change. With the ability to burn biocoal
efficiently and without negative impact on the environment, CSR's modern
steam locomotive will also exhibit significantly better horsepower output
at higher speeds than the current diesel-electric locomotives that pull the
majority of passenger trains in the United States.

"This project presents a novel approach to U.S. locomotive development,
looking to technologies of the past to inspire solutions for today's
sustainability challenges," said SRI president Davidson Ward. "I'm
confident that the leading energy researchers we're working with at the
University of Minnesota, along with our team of engineers, will be able to
bring this technology to the forefront of America's energy and
transportation conversations."

In November 2011, SRI acquired a large test bed steam locomotive through a
no-cost transfer of ownership from the Great Overland Station museum and
education center in Topeka, Kan. This locomotive, built in 1937 for the
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad as number 3463, will be reconfigured
by SRI's locomotive modernization experts, then tested as part of CSR
Project 130.

The success of CSR Project 130 has implications that extend beyond the
railroad industry, proving the viability of biocoal for use in the
developing world. Locomotive engineering on combustion and boiler
technologies allows CSR to design power boilers and electric generators on
scales from 5 to 5,000 kilowatts. This technology is adaptable for homes in
villages of the developing world as well as for use in the U.S. Every
dollar spent on engineering support of CSR Project 130 can generate up to
three times the benefit in outgrowth technologies to solve energy problems
in the United States and around the world.

"When I think of the University of Minnesota's motto, 'Driven to
Discover,™' it is precisely the kind of research-based innovation present
in CSR Project 130 that sets our school apart," said Don Fosnacht, Ph.D.,
Director of the University's Center for Applied Research and Technology
Development. "The idea of integrating cutting-edge materials science and
engineering into a technology base that has not been touched since the
1960s is quite unique, and entering into an industry with as much potential
for growth as the U.S. railroad market just adds to CSR Project 130's

In May, SRI completed a cosmetic restoration and stabilization of
Locomotive 3463 in Topeka. Plans are to move the locomotive to Minneapolis
within the next 12 months. Once moved, CSR will complete the detailed
engineering needed to modernize and reconfigure the locomotive.

For more information on the Coalition for Sustainable Rail and CSR Project
130 visit


*Sustainable Rail International:*

Sustainable Rail International (SRI), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) and
Minnesota nonprofit corporation, is a scientific and educational
organization whose mission is to advance biofuel research and production;
to research and develop sustainable railroad locomotives; to promulgate
associated sustainable technologies; and to support and conduct nonpartisan
educational and informational activities to increase awareness of
sustainable railroad locomotives. Founded by Rob Mangels, Shaun McMahon,
John Rhodes and Davidson Ward, SRI maintains internationally renowned steam
locomotive mechanical engineers and U.S. industry professionals among its
diverse members.

*Institute on the Environment:*

The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment discovers
solutions to Earth's most pressing environmental problems by conducting
transformative research, developing the next generation of global leaders
and building world-changing partnerships. Learn more online at
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