"The world’s first battery-electric freight train was unveiled at an event in
Pittsburgh on Friday, amid a fresh attempt by some US lawmakers to slash carbon
emissions from rail transport in order to address the climate crisis.
Wabtec, the Pittsburgh-based rail freight company, showed off its locomotive at
Carnegie Mellon University as part of a new venture between the two
organizations to develop zero emissions technology to help move the 1.7bn tons
of goods that are shipped on American railroads each year.
Perched upon a strip of rail at Carnegie Mellon’s technology campus on the
banks of the Monongahela River, the cherry red, 75ft-long train provided a
striking background to politicians, rail executives and academics who urged a
swifter industry transition away from fossil fuels. Dignitaries were allowed to
clamber up a vertiginous ladder on to the train to inspect its confines, which
included a small driver’s cabin in front of 500 lithium-ion battery modules,
arrayed in stacks in the heart of the vehicle.
The new train, known as the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, underwent
successful trials in California earlier this year where it was found to have
cut fuel consumption by 11%, which meant reducing the amount of diesel used by
6,200 gallons. Wabtec said that the next iteration of the locomotive, to be
rolled out within two years, will be able to cut the consumption of diesel, the
fossil fuel traditionally used in freight rail, by nearly a third.
The company also said emissions will be entirely eliminated through the
development of accompanying hydrogen fuel cells. If the technology is used
worldwide, Wabtec estimates planet-heating emissions could be cut by 300m tons
a year, with nearly half of those saved emissions occurring in the US."
Via Joseph Teller.
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*** Xanni ***
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