Hexagon Enters New J.V. for CNG for Rail

August 25, 2016 in CNG, Companies, Rail by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

‘Hexagon Rail’ Is Established with ACES and Resonance Mode,
‘Confident that CNG Will Become the Railroad Fuel of the Future’

Hexagon Composites, through its Hexagon Lincoln unit in Nebraska, has entered into a joint venture agreement with ACES/Allegheny Creative Energy Solutions and Colorado Springs-based Resonance Mode to promote and supply equipment for compressed natural gas as a locomotive fuel.

CNG tender concept showing proposed Type IV cylinder arrangement

CNG tender concept showing proposed Type IV fuel cylinder arrangement

The new Hexagon Rail is preparing both locomotive-installed CNG systems for switcher and short-haul operations, and tender cars enabling longer-distance runs, both using Hexagon Lincoln’s all-composite Type IV fuel cylinders.

“Long-term competitive fuel pricing and meeting reduced emissions requirements, especially for railroads operating in metropolitan areas, are very important market drivers for the adoption of CNG in this segment,” Hexagon Lincoln VP Frank Häberli says in the companies’ announcement.

‘Great Opportunities, Even with Current Oil Prices’

“We see great opportunities in the global rail market, even with current oil prices.”

Hexagon has already been named as the CNG cylinder supplier for on-locomotive fuel systems as the Chicago-area Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad converts switcher locomotives to CNG (HHP Insight, June 2).

These two Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad locomotives are the first of 21 SW1500 units to be converted to CNG-diesel dual fuel operation by R.J. Corman Railpower. Hexagon is supplying CNG fuel cylinders.

These two Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad locomotives are the first of 21 SW1500 units to be converted to CNG-diesel dual fuel operation by R.J. Corman Railpower. Hexagon is supplying CNG fuel cylinders.

ACES and Resonance Mode claim “extensive experience with American railroads and have designed prototype CNG tenders, fuel storage, and trackside refueling systems with Hexagon Composites’ bulk-capacity Titan cylinders,” states the release.

U.S. Is ‘Primary Focus’

“The joint venture’s primary focus will be the U.S. market,” says the announcement, “but it will provide CNG rail solutions worldwide. CNG as the most economic fuel for locomotives will significantly reduce engine exhaust particulates and improve emissions in their surrounding communities.”

“We are confident that CNG will become the railroad fuel of the future,” said ACES chairman Ross Rowland.

A Wide Selection of CNG Fuel Cylinders

“Hexagon’s broad product portfolio ensures that we can provide cylinder solutions for a variety of locomotive storage configurations,” says ACES project leader Wolf Fengler.

“Whether our customers are looking for belly, long hood, or over-head modules, we are prepared to work with them in effectively integrating our composite cylinders,” he told HHP Insight in an email.

“There isn’t as much weight margin as one may think when building a CNG fueled locomotive with only onboard fuel storage,” Fengler says. “We’ll need to respect maximum axle loads and vehicle dynamics requirements, while ensuring the highest level of safety and reliability; our variety of light weight Type IV cylinders give us a clear advantage in fulfilling those requirements while maximizing onboard fuel volume.”

‘More Gas, Not Steel’

Hexagon Lincoln’s all-composite Type IV cylinders – similar to those used for heavy duty trucks – will be used on the short-range locomotives, with the firm’s larger, Titan-brand all-composite pressure vessels available for CNG tenders.

The Titan tanks are U.S. DoT-approved for CNG transportation Fengler notes. “Titan,” he says, “allows us to carry more gas, not steel, and with fewer connections, which ultimately translates into a more robust product solution.”

ACES’ RailGas affiliate (HHP Insight, May 14, 2014) has been absorbed into the new joint venture, Fengler says.

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Source: Hexagon Composites with HHP Insight follow-up

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