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Rio Tinto has placed an order with Wabtec for four FLXdrive battery-electric locomotives to support operations in Pilbara, Western Australia.The order forms part of Rio Tinto’s strategy to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions at its operations by 50% by 2030.
As agreed, Wabtec will deliver the newest version of the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotives with a 7MWh energy capacity to the mining firm in 2023.
The 100% battery-powered locomotives are expected to help reduce the firm’s emissions and fuel costs. It will be based on the route from the mine to the port at Dampier.
Rio Tinto plans to use the locomotives in multiple applications, including as a shunter in the railyard and ultimately in mainline service of transporting iron ore from mines.
The new locomotives will offer a hybrid recharging service during the journey through regenerative braking and at charging stations. Wabtec said that its next-generation energy-management software system is designed to determine the batteries’ optimal times to discharge and recharge en route, which would ensure the most fuel-efficient operation of the entire locomotive.