Commercial, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions - June 20, 2023
Amtrak Accelerates Net-Zero Transportation
Amtrak announced the support of its company-wide climate commitment by making increased purchases of carbon-free energy and reducing diesel usage and GHG emissions by more than 450,000 metric tons of CO2 since 2010.
The company pledged in 2022 to achieve net-zero GHG emissions across its network by 2045. This goal encompasses its efforts to reduce environmental impacts across its entire carbon footprint while safely transporting people across America.
“Sustainability sits at the heart of Amtrak’s value proposition: we aim to get you there reliably, safely and with a smaller impact on the environment,” said Amtrak CEO, Stephen Gardner, in a statement. “As we build a more modern Amtrak with federal funding from the landmark Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), we aim to lead a new era of sustainable passenger rail.”
Amtrak also supported a 2020/2021 pilot, conducted by Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) and Caltrans, after which locomotive manufacturers approved renewable diesel use on California’s passenger trains, which will begin in FY23. This development will decrease reliance on fossil fuels and lifecycle emissions that diesel locomotives produce.
The company made notable achievements in Chicago, decreasing fuel use and idle locomotives by using automatic engine start-stop technology, shutting down engines when not in use, and using ground power electricity over diesel when possible. These actions saved approximately 90,000 gallons of fuel.
It also prioritized energy efficiency by installing more than 3,000 new light fixtures, including 1,400 replacements of fluorescent or early-generation LED lights. Through these upgrades, the company reduced its annual GHG emissions output by approximately 500 metric tons.
In 2021, Amtrak set the goal to source 100% carbon-free electricity to power its infrastructure by 2030, and source 100% renewable electricity to power its infrastructure by 2035.
As the company transitions to net-zero operations, it plans to use biodiesel or renewable diesel; maximize operational efficiency through fuel-saving techniques; use more sustainable heating systems; optimize the energy efficiency of its facilities through LED lighting and smart metering equipment; and make continued investments in renewable energy through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), on-site power generation, and renewable energy credits (RECs).