The Anonymous Widower

Fortescue Buys Williams Engineering In Major Push Into High Performance Batteries

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renew Economy.

This is the opening paragraph.

Fortescue Future Industries has made its first major push into battery storage and high performance batteries with the $A310 million purchase of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), the offshoot of the Formula 1 specialists Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

Andrew Forrest certainly has a wide-ranging plan.

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Formula 1 Technology Company To Support Development Of Battery Train, was published later and gives more details.

This is the first paragraph.

Fortescue Metals Group’s green technology division Fortescue Future Industries is developing what it says is a ‘world leading’ battery electric train concept.

It will be interesting to see what technologies are at the heart of the ‘world leading’ concept.

If you are controlling a complex chemical or nuclear plant, you will often have a model of the plant inside the control system, so that the operating strategy can be consistently optimised.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see techniques like this and other advanced techniques be used to reduce the carbon footprint of rail transportation of iron ore and other minerals.

Perhaps, the ideal power for one of these heavy haul trains would consist of a master battery-electric locomotive up front with the crew, assisted by up to three hydrogen-, diesel- or battery-powered slaves.

  • All braking would be regenerative to battery.
  • Power would be called for from the slave locomotives as required.
  • Modelling would determine, if some sections needed electrification to charge the batteries.

I suspect there are opportunities to optimise round trips, as returning the empties will surely need less power.




January 24, 2022 - Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


  1. I know why Fortescue bought WAE,
    but what about Williams other activities like New Materials, Aerodynamics and Thermodynamics, and Low Volume Manufacturing for the energy, automotive, motorsport, aerospace, and defence industries. I do hope they’re left to exploit their entrepreneurial engineering skills.
    We recently talked about Anglo American Mining and their intentions to trial a fuel cell locomotive based on the developments they have in hand for Heavy Haul Mining Trucks in South Africa. It turns out that they contracted the engineering to WAE.
    And then there’s Equipmake the start-up bus builder with their BEV for Go-Ahead. The guy that started the company is ex WAE.

    Comment by fammorris | January 25, 2022 | Reply

  2. Formula One technology gets everywhere.

    It’s now even in Bazalgette’s Abbey Mills Pumping station.

    A Visit To Abbey Mills

    Comment by AnonW | January 25, 2022 | Reply

  3. […] Note that Williams Advanced Engineering is now owned by Australian billionaire;  Andrew Forrest, through his company; Fortescue Future Industries. I wrote about this purchase in Fortescue Buys Williams Engineering In Major Push Into High Performance Batteries. […]

    Pingback by Hyperbat In Multimillion-Pound Deal To Supply Battery Packs For Lotus Supercar « The Anonymous Widower | December 19, 2022 | Reply

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