Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO) performs well in DB Cargo UK tests

A trial using a Class 66 powered by Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and hauling a long-welded steel track train from Scunthorpe-Eastleigh in December found the locomotive lost only 5% power, with journey times unaffected, DB Cargo UK confirmed on January 15.

A previous trial using a Class 67 on the Toton load bank had taken place in December (RAIL 921). The ‘67’ had been chosen because it has the same engine as fitted to the core ‘66’ fleet.

The second trial, featuring 66150, was the first to be carried out on the main line. A load bank trial using a ‘60’ is due to take place, followed by a main line trial.

Currently Britain’s largest rail freight operator uses around 42 million tonnes of red diesel per year to power its Class 60, ‘66’ and ‘67’ fleets.

Speaking exclusively to RAIL on January 15, DB Cargo UK Head of Asset Management and Maintenance Steve Wilkinson explained it’s estimated that using HVO instead of red diesel reduces a train’s carbon emissions by up to 90%.

No modifications are needed to enable a locomotive to be powered by HVO, and the two fuels can be mixed.

DBC Senior Mechanical Engineer Paul Wilton highlighted that a key benefit for HVO is that it’s available now and doesn’t need to pass through approval processes, compared with other alternative powers.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 923, published on January 27, and available now digitally.

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