In Australia, an “infinite train” project capable of recharging its electric batteries… while driving

Benjamin Logerot

March 22, 2022 at 12:25 p.m.



© Fortescue Metal Group

In Australia, the mining giant Fortescue has announced that it is starting the development of an electric train capable of recharging its batteries automatically using the gravitational force of sections of sloping railway tracks. A first for a technology of this kind which should be developed within two years.

The objectives set by the company are clear: reduce costs, phase out diesel by 2030 and show that the use of renewable energies is possible at all levels.

Gently sloping to infinity

Crossing the white immensity of an eternal and icy winter, from one end of the planet to the other, rolls a train that never stops “. These verses taken from Rochette’s successful comic book, The Transperceneige
could well become reality in the near future (at least for the train, we really hope that this is not the case for the rest of the events) thanks to the Australian company Fortescue, specialized in the extraction and transport of minerals of iron.

The group announced at the beginning of the month that it had set up a $50 million plan to develop unprecedented technology that will equip theInfinity Train, the infinite train: regenerating electric batteries. The project is being developed in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, which Fortescue acquired last January, and should be completed in two years.

Concretely, what the mining giant offers are batteries capable of recharging themselves using the gravitational force of loaded trains on the sloping sections of the company’s railway network in order to eliminate the recharge time. inevitable in the use of such electrical technologies. Stated objective: to drastically reduce operating and maintenance costs, and to begin a phase-out of diesel, which should be complete by 2030.

Good ecological conscience

Elizabeth Gaines, CEO of the mining giant does not hide it: ” Regeneration of electricity on downhill sections will remove the need for renewable energy generation and charging infrastructure facilities, making it an efficient and critical solution to eliminating diesel and emissions from our rail operations. “. The Infinite Train isn’t a grand plan to serve humanity, though the company is planning distribution on a more global level when everything is up and running.

But it should be noted that the development of this technology will greatly reduce costs and CO emissions in the future.2 trains from Fortescue. The company has an impressive fleet of 54 locomotives that can each pull 16 wagons and transport a total of some 34,400 tonnes of iron ore on its entire railway network. This requires millions of liters of diesel per year, as evidenced by the 82 million liters reported in fiscal year 2021.

Other Australian companies have also started to develop electric transport trains such as BHP or Rio Tinto, but Fortescue’s technology is unique for this sector.

On the same subject :
French giants Plastic Omnium and Alstom join forces to develop the hydrogen train

Source: Renew Economy

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