Greyhound likes to say: “Leave the driving to us.” The same might be said for GE when it comes to jockeying a locomotive’s throttle to maximize fuel savings. GE’s new “Trip Optimizer” technology — which functions much like a jetliner’s autopilot feature — calculates the optimal speed profile for a trip based on a specific train’s makeup and route and then automatically controls the throttle to maintain that planned speed and save fuel. Today, GE Transportation announced that Canadian Pacific Railway is equipping 200 of its freight locomotives with the breakthrough technology.
The Trip Optimizer, which is part of GE’s ecomagination portfolio, can potentially reduce fuel consumption by up to 32,000 gallons per year per locomotive. And if the technology was applied to a fleet of 1,500 Evolution Locomotives, which are also in the ecomagination line, it could save an estimated 48 million gallons of fuel per year.
In Canadian Pacific’s tests on freight trains of various lengths, fuel savings ranged from 6 percent to more than 10 percent, depending on territory. The magnitude of that savings is of particular note, as it shows that fundamentally redesigning equipment — as GE did with its $400 million investment in developing the Evolution series locomotive — isn’t the only path to making sizable efficiency gains. Rather, giant leaps can also be made with software-based solutions — which is what the Trip Optimizer is at its core.
If every train in North America used Trip Optimizer it would save approximately 630 million gallons of fuel per year, the equivalent of eliminating more than one million cars from the road.
For rail operators already using GE’s Evolution locomotives, the new technology can be deployed as a turnkey system. It can also be combined with GE’s other ecomagination locomotive system — Locotrol Distributed Power — which allows a single operator to control multiple sets of locomotives distributed in the same train, thereby saving fuel and cutting emissions.
* Read the announcement
* Learn more about the Trip Optimizer
* View an animated explanation of the Optimizer’s specs
* Learn more about GE’s Locotrol system
* View an animated explanation of Locotrol’s specs
* Read GE Reports’ story about its Evolution locomotive’s head-to-head fuel test
* Learn more about the Evolution series
* Learn about our Evolution Hybrid Locomotive
* Read about our newest model of the Evolution
* Watch a video of the Evolution being made and the 3,000th Evo dedication ceremony