World’s First Battery-powered Freight Train Announced in Pittsburgh | Pennsylvania

The world’s first battery-electric freight train unveiled at an event in Pittsburgh on Friday in a new attempt by some U.S. lawmakers to reduce carbon emissions from rail transport to address the climate crisis it was done.

Wabtec, a Pittsburgh-based rail freight company, unveiled its locomotive at Carnegie Mellon University. As part of a new venture between the two organizations, we have developed zero-emission technology to help move 1.7 billion tonnes of goods shipped annually on US railroads. ..

A 75-foot-long cherry-red train on the railroad tracks of Carnegie Mellon University’s Technology Campus on the banks of the Monongahira River impresses politicians, railroad executives, and scholars who have prompted a rapid industrial transition from fossil fuels. Provided a typical background. Authorities are allowed to climb the ladder towards the train to inspect the boundaries of the train, including a small cab in front of 500 lithium-ion battery modules stacked in the center of the car. I did.

The new train, known as the FLXdrive battery electric locomotive, was successfully tested in California earlier this year and was found to reduce fuel consumption by 11%. This means reducing diesel usage by 6,200 gallons... Wabtec said the next iteration of locomotives deployed within two years could reduce consumption of diesel, the fossil fuel traditionally used in freight railroads, by nearly one-third.

The company also said that the development of an accompanying hydrogen fuel cell would completely eliminate emissions. If this technology is used worldwide, Wabtec estimates that heating emissions from the planet can be reduced by 300 million tonnes annually, with nearly half of the savings occurring in the United States.

Wabtec battery cells used in trains. Photo: Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon

Rafael Santana, CEO of Wabtec, said: “This is just the beginning.”

The railway industry Position itself Nevertheless, as an enthusiastic supporter of Joe Biden’s climate agenda The history of its financing A group that rejects the reality of climate change and strictly protects the flow of coal transported by US railroads.

Since the union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad were integrated in 1869, the use of railroads to travel long distances has been an integral part of the U.S. economy, allowing goods to flow freely into the western United States for the first time. Made possible. The rail freight industry is currently worth about $ 80 billion and spans 140,000 miles of railroad tracks throughout the United States.

However, the environmental benefits of railroads are that they rely heavily on diesel to fuel freight trains, and Wide range of tastes Among companies that move goods by truck rather than by train.This is a global problem beyond the United States – International Energy Agency Said The freight railroad is “often ignored” in the climate change debate and currently carries only 7% of all freight traveling around the world.

Wabtec is betting that FLXdrive will change this dynamics. A new battery system housed in the body of a traditional locomotive drives the train’s axles and uses the kinetic energy of the train’s brakes to recharge. In other words, the battery never runs out. The latest version is a 7-megawatt battery locomotive, “100 times more power and energy in Tesla, dramatically more powerful,” said Eric Gebhart, Wabtec’s Chief Technology Officer.

Locomotive unveiling attended to renew $ 600 million in demand for a parliamentary settlement bill to be dedicated to the new Freight Railroad Innovation Institute, which provides research and development to reduce emissions from this sector Used by two Democrats. Congressmen and Wabtec believe that battery-powered trains are more practical and cheaper than electrifying the entire rail network in the United States.

“We’re really working hard to get it into a bigger bill,” Senator Bob Casey told the Guardian. Casey, Pennsylvania The Democratic Party introduced a $ 600 million proposal for the Institute in the Senate, and the same bill was written in the House of Representatives by another Democrat, Connorlam, including part of Pittsburgh. “We are in competition from irreversible climate change, and railroads are part of our strategy to reduce emissions,” said Casey.

Battery cell room of the train.
Battery cell room of the train. Photo: Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon

According to Casey, recent climate disasters such as floods in Tennessee and New York City and wildfires in the western United States have focused on the hearts of some senators. “The senator is also human,” he said. “Republicans don’t have the same sense of urgency as we do, but many Republicans realize that the party can no longer deny this.”

Today, more commodities are trucked on roads than railroads, but the railroad industry wants its response to the climate crisis to benefit its outlook. “By decarbonizing all locomotives and reducing the number of trucks, we can get where we need them,” Gebhardt said. Medium and heavy trucks account for about a quarter of US transportation emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, More than twice the pollution emitted from aircraft.

Gebhardt said Wabtec wants to develop fuel cells that use so-called “green” hydrogen produced by renewable energy, but “blue” hydrogen is possible. Despite the researchers warning In some cases, this form of energy can be more polluted than traditional fossil fuels.

Bill Sanders, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, said he hopes the proposed laboratory will provide research on fuel cells, battery systems and railroad efficiency.

“This is a very exciting moment. Battery technology is currently evolving very rapidly,” he said. “People talk about self-driving cars, but I think railroad progress is much closer than that. There is interest from the federal government in supporting this, and I think it will be very helpful.”

World’s First Battery-powered Freight Train Announced in Pittsburgh | Pennsylvania

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