May 30, 2024
What are The Implications of Using a Battery Powered Locomotive for Freight Transport?

Can the whole of land transport be completely electric in the coming years? Here is proof of the use of hybrid mechanics in trains with this differential locomotive.

Sustainable mobility is one of the objectives of developed countries in the medium and long term. Achieving a neutral carbon footprint when traveling, both publicly and privately is something practically impossible to achieve in this decade that we have just begun. Still, do we really know what the contamination implications of this measure are?

The use of battery packs

The automotive industry is certainly straightforward. At the end of the day, electrical mechanics is much easier, both in terms of installation and maintenance. Even so, applying this technological solution to other means of transport is more complex. Sea ships or airplanes are examples of how difficult it can be.

Reducing pollution in transport is an objective of developed countries one of the solutions that could be promoted would be land transport. In this sense, the conventional train could be one of the most recommended options in terms of developing sustainable options. So much so that, in addition to passenger transport, a new production line could be opened to create electric locomotives.

Today’s example serves, therefore, to understand to what extent we are facing a product with great potential.

The FLXDrive Wabtec locomotive draws attention because it is a hybrid option, which is a set of batteries coupled to contribute to a cleaner displacement. As a result, fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 11%.

Let’s see, therefore, what are the aspirations of this innovation, why it is one of the most prominent programs on the market, and, of course, what are the potential applications in the rest of the options present in the industry.

Are we facing a hybridization process that must be taken into account in order to reduce the level of polluting emissions?

Exponential consumption improvement in the coming years may be key

As can be read in the specialized portal New Atlas, this locomotive received a pack of electric batteries and its corresponding engine that had a very special function, to reduce the fuel consumption of the conventional engine.

We proceeded to incorporate a set of batteries that had a total capacity of about 2.4 mph.

The Wabtec FLXDrive locomotive features hybrid mechanics to reduce fuel consumption. Trains
So that you can get an idea of its capacity, it is as if a total of batteries belonging to 32 units of the Tesla Model 3 were incorporated in its version with greater autonomy. The main function of this group, of course, was to contribute to processes such as acceleration or deceleration. In the first maneuver, to gain speed with less consumption, and in the second, to win with regenerative braking.

The test has saved a total of 69 tons of CO2
The trial period that has been used to know the savings achieved has been 3 months. Located in California, this locomotive has managed to reduce its consumption by up to 11%, which translates into a very notable drop in terms of polluting emissions. During all this type, a total of 21,400 kilometers have been made, a sufficient record to know the result.

In relation to the emissions discharged, it is estimated that a total of 69 tons of CO 2 has been saved, which would be equivalent to a few thousand vehicles with internal combustion engines in that test period. Even so, it should be noted that this record can still be improved, since the primary objective is the provision of purely electrical mechanics in the future.

New goals in search of a purpose, further reduce consumption

Among the objectives set by the Wabtec company, the company promoting the project, it is worth highlighting the inclusion of a hybrid mechanic with an even higher battery capacity. It is speculated that the next step would be to add a set of batteries of up to 6 mWh, which would reduce fuel consumption by up to 30% compared to current results.

The FLXDrive locomotive will help change freight transport in the future. Trains
In addition, the key to this project is to commercialize the locomotive in the medium term to translate the study’s conclusions into real life. If this is achieved, we would be facing a very notable advance in terms of electrification of freight transport.

This movement is expected to occur over the next 5 years.

Rail transport has become one of the logical options in terms of cost. Electric aviation is still a somewhat abstract concept today. Something similar happens in the maritime field. The technology developed previously seems, therefore, the best option to achieve sustainable development.