Emission standards soon for Railways – RDSO finalises draft norms for Diesel Locos

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways will soon come under emission standards, with the Engine Development Directorate of the Research Designs and Standards Organisation drawing up the draft norms for diesel locos.

The report has been made public by the Central Pollution Control Board.

Standards & protocols

The interim report – Exhaust Emission Benchmarks for Diesel Locomotives on Indian Railways – attempts to set standards and protocols for the sector to achieve the targets submitted by India under the Paris climate change agreement.

Under the Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by the country, the Indian Railways will save 3.33 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020 (80 per cent over the period 2011-12 to 2020-21) and has an energy target of saving 4.05 billion kWh by 2020.

Further, the share of Railways in total land-based transportation will be increased from 36 per cent to 45 per cent, considering the transport mode’s relatively high-energy efficiency.

CO2 emissions

The emission burden from the transport sector as a whole has risen 3.5 times since 1990 to stand at 250 million tonne CO2, or 13.5 per cent of the total emissions in 2013.

The Railways contributed 9.7 per cent of this figure (24.7 million tonne). Globally, however, only 3.5 per cent of the emissions from the transport sector are attributed to the rail sector.

“The changes in the energy sources allowed for a reduction of the share of rail transport CO2 emissions from 24 per cent in 1990 to less than 10 per cent in 2013, while rail activity doubled in the same period,” the draft report by CPCB said.

Incidentally, the railway sector in India was hitherto exempt from environmental clearances and environmental impact assessment. Consequently, the sector has remained largely unregulated in terms of measurement of emissions, leading to relatively low historical data.

3-stage tests

The proposed emission standards for the sector have two separate criteria – for EMD type HHP diesel locomotives and ALCO diesel locomotives – and would require conformance at three stages: certification, production line test and in-use test.

The report proposes to “define a compliance protocol based on the practice being followed by US railroads for diesel locomotive exhaust emissions” due to the experience in the sector.

For the over 2,000 EMD type HHP diesel locomotives, the emission standards are more lenient than those for the 3,378 ALCO diesel locomotives in the country.