The Anonymous Widower

FLXdrive ‘Electrifies’ Pittsburgh

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Age.

The article describes Wabtec’s FLXdrive locomotive, as “the world’s first 100% battery, heavy-haul locomotive”

It is well worth a read, as it describes some of the design philosophy.

In addition, this page on the Wabtec web site gives some details of the locomotive.

It is powered by lithium-ion batteries.

  • There are around 20,000 battery cells
  • The batteries have their own air-conditioning
  • There is a sophisticated battery-management system.
  • The total battery size is 2.4 MWh
  • Power output is 4400 HP or 3.24 MW
  • Locomotive will run for 30-40 minutes at full power.
  • The locomotive has regenerative braking.
  • Operating speed is 75 mph

Note that running at 75 mph for 40 minutes would cover fifty miles.

The Railway age article has this paragraph, which describes a partnership between Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU), Genesee & Wyoming and Wabtec to create the Freight Rail Innovation Institute.

CMU, Genesee & Wyoming and Wabtec also hope to create the Freight Rail Innovation Institute, described as “the first-of-its-kind effort to create zero-emission locomotives, develop technology that increases freight rail utilization and improve safety by 50%, and create 250,000 jobs by 2030.” G&W’s Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad will pilot technologies developed by the Freight Rail Innovation Institute, including a zero-emissions battery and hydrogen-powered train that is planned for revenue operation on 200 miles of track between Pittsburgh and Buffalo, N.Y. within the next three years.

Note.

  1. The paragraph is very much a mission statement.
  2. Genesee & Wyoming are the parent of Freightliner in the UK, who are developing a dual-fuel locomotive, that I wrote about in Freightliner Secures Government Funding For Dual-Fuel Project.

It strikes me CMU, Genesee & Wyoming and Wabtec are on the right track.

September 16, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Freightliner Secures Government Funding For Dual-Fuel Project

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Freightliner.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), in partnership with a consortium of specialist suppliers, has been successful in securing government funding to develop a dual-fuel solution for the Class 66 locomotive.

The technology is one of the 30 winners of the latest round of the First of a Kind (FOAK) competition announced today by the Transport Secretary. Already the safest and greenest mode of ground-freight transportation, the competition has been aimed at making the railways even cleaner, greener and more passenger friendly.

These are my thoughts.

A Big Opportunity

Freightliner have a total of 113 Class 66 locomotives, out of a UK total of well over 400.

If the project succeeds, this could cut a large amount of carbon emissions from UK rail freight.

Who Are The Partners?

The press release gives these project partners.

The key project partners are Freightliner, which operates over 113 Class-66s in the UK, and Clean Air Power, providers of innovative clean air solutions for freight. The project is also supported by Network Rail, Tarmac, Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB), Flogas, Carrickarory and the University of Birmingham.

It is a comprehensive group of partners, which probably covers all aspects.

  • From their web site, Clean Air Power would appear to have the expertise for the project, with back-up from the University of Birmingham, who seem to be involved in several high-profile rail projects.
  • The early involvement of standards must be a good thing.
  • Flogas are a gas company
  • Carrickarory would appear to be consultants specialising in rail.

Getting the team right is important in having a successful project.

What Are The Objectives Of The Project?

The press release gives these project objectives.

The project will investigate the ability to substitute diesel with both hydrogen and biogas on the Class-66 locomotive which hauls over 80% of freight on the UK rail network and, in doing so, reduce carbon emissions on one of the industry’s most challenging two-stroke locomotives.

This will be achieved by retrofitting the Class 66 with Clean Air Power’s precision injection technology, creating a Class 66 that can run on a combination of diesel, biogas and hydrogen.

Sounds a good set of reduced carbon objectives!

Would The Technology Be Applicable To Other Operators And Locomotives?

The press release says this.

This sustainable solution will support a programme to decarbonise freight operating companies’ diesel fleets in a cost-efficient manner that does not require significant short-term investment and facilitates operational learning in support of a longer-term fleet replacement programme, potentially using 100% hydrogen fuel.

Does this mean that the eventual Class 66 replacement will be a locomotive, that runs exclusively on hydrogen?

I suspect it does!

How very sensible!

Conclusion

This could be a big step in the battle to decarbonise.

July 5, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 8 Comments