Tag Archives: ethanol

New Paper Published

We just published an article in Research in Transportation Business and Management (RTBM). It’s called Fleet management for rail car transport of ethanol.

The “we” is Khalid Bachkar, Idrissu Aminu, Atif Osmani, and me.

The link here is good for 30 days; you can read for free. We hope you enjoy it.



Lost Generation in advanced biofuels at scale

This article offers an interesting perspective and economic analysis of why ethanol fuel has not taken off despite lots of price supports.  Essentially a lot of people bet wrong about what would happen with oil.  There is a proposal for how to help the situation based on an report from the ICCT.  california-contracts-for-difference_white-paper_icct_102016

screenshot-www-biofuelsdigest-com-2016-10-19-08-28-02Source: Lost Generation: ICCT’s financing scheme to jump start advanced biofuels at scale : Biofuels Digest

DOT-117 tank car rule debuts 

A very nice chart of the modifications needed to make tank cars more explosion proof.  The picture is from the article below.  There’s a new DOT-117 (TC-117 in Canada) design, and a long list of modifications that must be made to older cars.  These can be expensive to upgrade and have a variety of expiration dates when they no longer can be used without retrofit.  It’s a nightmare for the very active leasing business, and for companies who must sublease cars they control  when they face a downturn of demand.  The kind of complexity financial businesses such as leasing dote on.



Railway Age Logo

Source: DOT-117 tank car rule debuts with controversy | Railway Age


Here’s what a DOT-117 rail car looks like, from the article:

DOT-117 tank car rule debuts with controversy

This blog says that only 225 cars were upgraded the first year.

Desmog Logo

A year ago, when Federal regulators announced new rules for “high hazard” trains moving crude oil and ethanol, the oil industry protested that the rules were too strict.

Source: Rail Safety Report Card: Only 225 Of Over 100,000 Unsafe Tank Cars Were Retrofitted in First Year | DeSmogBlog

Finally, we have this cheery note:

Tacoma Weekly Logo

A stack of 24 tanker cars partially derailed on the Tacoma Tideflats about 9:15 a.m. on April 22. There were no injuries. The tankers were empty so no spill following the incident but the otherwise busy intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Taylor Way was closed for 12 hours to allow crews time to lift the tankers back onto their chassis and for investigators to gather information. The accident happened at a curve in the track and occurred when the weather was slightly rainy, although track conditions apparently didn’t play into the cause of the derailment. Damage estimates to the cars hover around the $250,000 mark.

Source: Tacoma Weekly | Empty tanker cars jump tracks on tideflats