Increase Cooling Efficiency of Refrigerated Car

Abstract PDF: 

Leading the railcar transportation industry within the United States; Union Pacific serves states west of the Mississippi River all the way to the Pacific coast comprising of more than 32,000 miles of track.

The vast amount of energy required for railcar travel makes Union Pacific a substantial diesel fuel consumer. In efforts to increase railcar fuel efficiency, Union Pacific contracted the assistance of BYU’s Capstone Team Frigid Freight to analyze and improve air circulation and cooling efficiency of their refrigerated boxcar.

Frigid Freight compared geometry from both physical and CAD models of the boxcar in order to produce accurate virtual models of the current air flow system. Through the use of computational fluid dynamics software these virtual models were tested for velocity and pressure losses throughout the system. Once baseline measurements were analyzed and validated, the team built and tested innovative digital models intended to improve airflow. Various parametric models were analyzed against the original models using the same fluid dynamics software.

After six months of testing, Frigid Freight was proud to deliver enhanced models of 5 different components, increasing refrigeration efficiency of the boxcar by 40%.

School Year (term): 
Union Pacific Railroad
Team Name: 
Frigid Freight
Brian Iverson
Team Members: 
Tom Sawyer, Emily Lazalde, Gary Kinross, W. Cade Cousins, Alvin Ye

Brigham Young University - Provo | Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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