News & Reviews News Wire Wabtec gets work out of new locomotive engines before they even leave the factory floor

Wabtec gets work out of new locomotive engines before they even leave the factory floor

By | September 20, 2023

The power produced during testing of engines at Grove City, Pa., is now being captured and used to power the factory or sent to the electrical grid

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Locomotive prime movers: Pale-green painted engines sit on blocks in a factory.
New 12-cylinder GEVO-12 prime movers, built at Wabtec’s Grove City, Pa., plant, wait to be installed at Wabtec’s plant in Fort Worth, Texas. Chris Guss

PITTSBURGH – Wabtec has come up with a creative way to produce power at its Grove City, Pa., engine plant: It’s tapping the electricity generated during testing of the thousands of new locomotive and marine engines the factory builds each year.

Wabtec tests up to 3,000 engines at the Grove City plant annually, with each engine generating between 1.8 and 4.7 megawatts while undergoing testing. Over the course of a year, the combined power output of the new engines is enough to provide 40% of the plant’s power or to produce enough energy to power 1,000 homes.

Wabtec is now tapping the 9.8 gigawatt hours of power produced annually rather than simply burning it off the energy as heat.

“As part of Wabtec’s sustainability journey, we are focused on reducing energy consumption at our operations around the world,” said Marty Thomas, vice president of Wabtec’s services operations. “Our local Grove City Manufacturing team brainstormed ideas working with power utilities, local and state governments to identify projects to reduce energy consumption at the engine plant. We identified a tremendous opportunity to find a way to use previously wasted energy from the engine test cells to power the site and potentially send power back to the grid.”

Wabtec developed an engineering plan and acquired the necessary hardware to upgrade the six engine test cells at the plant. Now the cells can capture and use the energy generated while testing. The energy recovery has the potential to be shared between plant consumption and power returned to the grid.

“Our energy recovery project is a creative solution that benefits the environment, the company and the local power grid,” Thomas said. “It helps power the plant and reduces the reliance on energy from the utilities. It also frees up energy for other utility customers and potentially feeds excess power to the grid, which is critical during times when high energy demands stress the utilities’ electrical systems.”

7 thoughts on “Wabtec gets work out of new locomotive engines before they even leave the factory floor

  1. To All: I don’t know about you all in “your neck of the woods”. Here during school, either summer (A/C) or winter (heater), there are huge parking lots of waiting cars with parent(?) for sure GRANDPARENTS (!!!) picking up kids. While the buses make their runs half full.
    Why this observation/comment? How much gasoline is being wasted for this special treatment of kiddo’s. Truly, we are a spoiled nation. Something like the news article is refreshing to see. Waste not, helps with our needs (NOT WANTS) endmrw0921232300

  2. I was told that Ford used to the same thing with their Dynometer Labs in Dearborn back in the day. The practice tapered off in the 1980’s when straight fours started to displace all the big old V-8’s.

  3. I was thinking the same thing, you guys just figured this out, it was after all General ELECTRIC not too long ago.
    Sure beats using a generator/alternator hooked up to resistor grids dumping KW of heat into nowhere and as a bonus now there making money off the tests.
    Jack Welsh would be impressed.

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