Wabtec has unveiled the FLXdrive battery locomotive, the world’s first heavy-haul locomotive for mainline service.
The FLXdrive is powered by Wabtec’s advanced battery technology and represents a major step towards a low-to-zero-emission future in the rail industry.
The FLXDrive train, has been designed and developed for the mining company, Roy Hill and will feature an energy capacity of 7 megawatt hours (MWh). This will mean, based on the route and company’s rail operations, the FLXdrive is anticipated to provide a double-digit percentage reduction in fuel costs and emissions per train.
Once the final battery installations and track testing have been completed, the locomotive will begin its 10,500-mile journey in 2024 for delivery to its new home in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Roy Hill, which is part of Hancock Prospecting, one of the largest iron-ore mining companies in the world, will be utilised in its Australian territory. Speaking at the launch, Gerhard Veldsman, chief executive officer for Hancock Prospecting said: “The foresight of our Executive Chairman, Mrs. Gina Rinehart AO, has been instrumental in establishing an environment in which we can successfully leverage the ingenuity of our people alongside key partners like Wabtec to transform our rail and mining operations through next-generation technologies.”
The FLXdrive will use regenerative braking to charge its battery on the downhill run from the mine to the port. This will not only enable Roy Hill to realise energy efficiencies, but also lower operating costs alongside a unique battery thermal management system which uses liquid cooling to withstand the Pilbara heat, where temperatures can reach 55°C.
“This FLXdrive locomotive represents a major step in the journey to a low-to-zero-emission future in the rail industry,” said Rafael Santana, President & CEO of Wabtec.
“The FLXdrive is driven from within by our battery technology and the innovative spirit of our employees. Roy Hill is an ideal customer to partner with given their leadership and excellent operational record.”
Photo Credit: Wabtec