The Anonymous Widower

Batteries Come Of Age In Railway Construction

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Engineer.

It is very much a must-read article on the subject of constructing and repairing railways in a zero-carbon manner.

These are some extra comments of mine!

Smaller And Lighter First

This is a paragraph from the article.

Smaller and lighter equipment is getting the treatment first – the batteries and motors can be smaller. Volvo Construction Equipment has already supplied its first electric compact loader, to a customer in Germany.

Volvo seems to be busy creating electric loaders.

Size Appears To Be No Limit

This extract shows how a large dump truck can go electric.

If a 25-tonne excavator is not big enough, how about a Komatsu HD605-7 off-highway truck, which weighs 51 tonnes unladen and has a payload of 63 tonnes? Kuhn Switzerland, working with Lithium Storage and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), has converted this 111-tonne gross vehicle weight monster into an electric vehicle.

Out came the 23-litre, 778hp (578kW) diesel engine and in went a synchronous electric motor rated at 789hp (588kW) electric motors. An additional 120kW motor is fitted just to power the hydraulic systems. The battery was a challenge – the four large packs have a combined rating of 700kWh and weigh 4.5 tonnes.

Do you get much bigger than 111 tonne, nearly 600 kW and a 700 kWh battery pack?

Regenerative Braking

The article also says that in some applications, vehicles go up and down a route and can charge the batteries using regenerative braking on the downhill run. In one application batteries only need charging every three days.

Rail Application Of Off-Road Equipment

The article says this.

While an eDumper may be too large to use on the railway, it does show what can now be done. Between JCB’s mini-excavator and eMining’s dump truck, there is room to battery-power almost any item used on the railway today.

I would suspect that there are a lot of companies, including giants like Caterpillar, JCB, Komatsu. Volvo and others working to produce electric versions of their successful products.

What About The Workers

The article says this.

These new machines are only the tip of the ‘electric’ iceberg. As pressure mounts to cut carbon emissions and to protect workers from harmful fumes, there will be more to come.

Health and safety will lead to a big push towards electric, as electric vehicles are pollution, carbon and fume-free, with a substantial noise reduction.

Hydrogen Will Have A Part To Play

This statement is from the Wikipedia entry for ITM Power.

In March 2015 JCB made a strategic investment of £4.9M in ITM Power.

Why would a construction equipment company invest in a company, that makes equipment that generates hydrogen to power vehicles?

  • It is known, that the Bamford heir has purchased Wrightbus and intend to make hydrogen-powered buses for the world.
  • JCB have built their own diesel engines, so are they building their own hydrogen engine?
  • JCB make tractors and I believe a hydrogen-powered tractor may be more than a niche market.
  • Is it possible to build a hydrogen-powered JCB?

Buy any of these products and you get a gas station in the price.

To deliver hydrogen, all you need to do is connect it to the water and electricity mains and switch on.

If you’re using it to power rail or site construction equipment, the gas station could be on wheels, so it can be moved from site to site.

Conclusion

This is the writer’s conclusion.

It seems that ‘battery is the new diesel’. It will be fascinating to see how this sector develops over the next few years.

I don’t disagree, but would add, that I feel that JCB are the elephant in this room!

March 15, 2020 - Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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