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The electric train will use gravitational energy to recharge its batteries

The world’s heavy industries remain vital to the global economy yet are very difficult to decarbonize. One factor contributing to the sector’s emissions is the energy needed to transport large quantities of heavy raw materials over long distances. The process of transporting iron ore, for example, is complicated and emissions intensive.

To tackle this, Australian mining company Fortescue has developed a zero-emission battery electric train to transport its iron ore. The train was developed in collaboration with UK-based company Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and includes several technological developments. Most important among these is the train’s ability to recharge itself using gravitational energy. When the loaded train goes through a downhill section, energy is harvested and used to recharge the battery. This means there is no need to install separate charging infrastructure or renewable energy generation capacity. The train’s regenerating capabilities have earned it the nickname ‘infinity train’.

Fortescue is attempting to re-position itself as a green renewables and resources company, and, as part of this push, it recently announced the acquisition of WAE as it looks to invest further in sustainable technologies.

“The Infinity Train will not only accelerate Fortescue’s race to reach net zero emissions by 2030, but also lower our operating costs, create maintenance efficiencies and productivity opportunities,” explains Fortescue Founder and Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest.

Following the announcement of the acquisition, WAE CEO Craig Wilson commented, “High performance battery and electrification systems are at the core of what we do and now that we are part of the Fortescue family, this presents an exciting opportunity to develop new technologies as we work together to tackle climate change.”

Written By: Matthew Hempstead


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