MERRILLVILLE | A Gary company that serves U.S. Steel's Gary Works is implementing a new locomotive with a retrofitted engine expected to significantly reduce diesel emissions in the region.
When it is up and running at Tube City IMS, the Lean and Green Locomotive will be the second such engine operating in the nation.
Shawn Seals, administrator of the DieselWise Indiana Initiative for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, said the locomotive has, "tremendous emission-reduction potential."
The locomotive will use less diesel fuel, Seals said, providing emissions reductions equal to removing 20 heavy duty diesels trucks from the road permanently.
"Local projects like these really go a long way to improving and maintaining air quality," Seals said.
The project was made possible through a grant from IDEM, with grant-writing assistance provided by South Shore Clean Cities. Carl Lisek, executive director of South Shore Clean Cities, is co-administrator of the state's DieselWise program with Seals.
IDEM provided $210,000 in grant funds, which were matched by more than twice that amount by Tube City IMS, Seals said. The company's investment is expected to be recovered in fuel savings within three to four years.
David Coslov, vice-president of maintenance equipment with Tube City IMS, said the locomotive will be used to move slag at Gary Works.
"We anticipate a 60 to 70 percent reduction in fuel," he said.
The company is hoping to receive the locomotive next week and may add two more to the fleet in the future.
Jack Siffert of Lean and Green Locomotive in Lorain, Ohio, said the other locomotive currently in operation is in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. That locomotive, he said, has shown a 78 percent reduction in fuel use.
The fuel savings come with the ability to shut the engine down and restart it as needed, reducing idle time needed by traditional diesel engines.
Siffert said the technology marks one of the first fuel-saving improvements in diesel locomotives in nearly 80 years.
"The diesel that is being burned is being burned a lot more efficiently, too," Siffert said. "... The traditional design (for diesel locomotives) actually started being manufactured in the '30s and nothing has really been drastically altered in these engines since then."