A gas turbine-electric locomotive, also known as GTEL, is a type of locomotive that uses a gas turbine to drive an electric alternator or generator. The electric current produced by that electrical alternator or generator is further used to provide power to traction motors. In a gas turbine-electric locomotive (GTEL), the turbine engine is similar to the turbo shaft engine, and is used to drive an output shaft attached to an electrical alternator or generator through the gear system. This whole system is then used to provide power to the traction motors.
A gas turbine offers various advantages over a piston engine. There are fewer moving parts, which reduces the requirement for lubrication and decreases the maintenance costs associated with the turbine. Also, the power-to-weight ratio is high. A turbine of some power output is smaller in size than a piston engine of the same power output, which allows a locomotive to be comparatively powerful without being large in size.
That said, the power output and efficiency of a gas turbine drops drastically with rotational speed, unlike a piston engine, which has a relatively flat power curve. This is the reason that makes gas turbine electric locomotive systems useful for long-distance high-speed runs.
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Union Pacific administered the largest formation of such locomotives used for any railroad around the globe and was the only railroad that used them for hauling shipping. Most other gas turbine electric locomotives were built for the purpose of small trains for passengers only and only some locomotives have seen success in that particular role. After the crisis in oil industries in the 1970s and the consequent rise in fuel costs, gas turbine locomotives became extravagant to operate and therefore, many were considered out of service.
Locomotives operated by Union Pacific needed more maintenance than formerly expected, owing to the pollution generated by the turbine blades by some particular oil used as fuel. However, that type of locomotive is now rare and the gas turbines electric locomotive is the trend.
Gas turbine Electric locomotive Market: Dynamics
Implementation of the gas turbine-electric locomotive in railways to decrease the operational cost of locomotives and improve the transportation system is the main driver that contributes to growth of the rail traction transformers market. Also, government funding to improve transportation facilities will impact the gas turbine electric locomotive market positively. Growing awareness towards the high-speed locomotive sector is also expected to drive the market of gas turbine electric locomotive significantly.
Rapid technological advancement, coupled with growing locomotive transport, is expected to favorably impact market growth. Moreover, growing environmental concerns will also impact the global gas turbine electric locomotive market over the forecast period. However, the presence of alternatives, such as conventional transformers, may act as a restraint to this market.
The Asia Pacific region, followed by North America, is expected to dominate the gas turbine electric locomotive market by capturing comparatively a high market share in terms of value. Also, the Middle East and Africa region will hold a significant market share after Asia Pacific and North America, followed by Europe.
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This is owing to the fact that many countries in these regions are adopting faster means of transportation, which increases the demand for fast and efficient drives. Therefore, a substantial increment in the market shares of the gas turbine electric locomotive can be expected. The sales of gas turbine electric locomotive are expected to grow significantly in some regions, such as the Middle East & Africa and Latin America, over the forecasted period.
Gas turbine Electric locomotive Market: Market Participants
Examples of some of the market participants in the gas turbine electric locomotive market identified across the value chain are Eaton, Nidec Corporation, Emerson, Schneider Electric, Atlas Copco AB, ABB, Honeywell International Inc., Siemens AG, 3M, General Electric, BHEL, etc.
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