Diesel Electric isn't new for trains. Most Diesels on the tracks today actually run a generator with their fuel, and use that electricity to drive the wheels. The problem is starting up: If you think your little Corolla has trouble getting up to speed in first gear, imagine what a starting hundreds of thousands of pounds of freight moving would be like. You'd wear through a transmission a week. Instead, using electricity allows the motors to run at a constant gear ratio, and speed is controlled by varying power to them.
But even so, these trains suffer from huge losses because the large diesel engines needed to deliver the starting power (up to 3500 horsepower!) are kept on even when the power needs are nowhere near this level. This idling engine loss leads to massive amounts of fuel being burned unnecessarily.
The Green Goat substitutes a much smaller 250hp engine-generator setup, but also adds storage batteries capable of 2000hp for high-power starting. After the generator is no longer needed, it simply shuts off, eliminating idling losses. The train can then run off power from the battery banks.
This hybrid setup creates almost unbelievable advantages:
- Improved visibility because of lower generator housing.
- Improved traction, because of heavy weight of batteries.
- 80-90% reduction in NOX and Particulate emissions.
- 30-80% fuel savings
- First year is virtually maintenance free, and subsequent upkeep is simple because of small, light, standard parts
- Smaller generator makes operation very quiet