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JR West to test train with next-generation biofuel in Yamaguchi Pref.; Company aims for net-zero emissions target by 2050

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Logo of West Japan Railway Co.

YAMAGUCHI – West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) will test drive a train running on next-generation vegetable biodiesel this fall. The test uses a 47.1-kilometer route between Iwakuni and Tokuyama stations in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The one-car train will follow the normal schedule of the Gantoku Line and part of the Sanyo Line between the cities of Iwakuni and Shunan.

JR West aims to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions by replacing 100% of its light oil – a fossil fuel – with biofuel.

The company decided to conduct the test in preparation for using biofuel in its trains after confirming that biofuel trains have the same fuel efficiency as light oil trains. The company made the confirmation during tests conducted from August last year to January on an out-of-service train that made two round trips per day between Kogushi and Shimonoseki stations on the Sanin Line in Shimonoseki.

The test run will use imported biofuel and the train will be refueled at Shin-Yamaguchi Station in Yamaguchi. JR West plans to build a fuel storage tank at the station by the time of the test run.

The company aims to use the results of the test, which will last six months, to fully introduce the new service as early as fiscal year 2025.

JR West owned approximately 500 diesel locomotives and diesel trains as of April 2023 and is said to have emitted approximately 55,000 tonnes of CO2 in the 2021 financial year.

As part of the company’s long-term Zero Carbon 2050 environmental goals in 2023, JR West Group set a 2030 budget target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% compared to the 2013 budget year. For 2050, set a net zero target.

Ushio Kurahara, general manager of JR West’s regional headquarters in Chugoku, said at a regular press conference in April that the test will allow the company to determine the horsepower and other characteristics of the biofuel train, as the section where the test will be carried out has a slope. .

“We hope to have replaced all our diesel train fuel with next-generation fuel by around 2030,” he said.

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