Wabtec Shares Data From Battery Locomotive Testing

Pittsburgh-based Wabtec released findings on Monday showing that its battery-powered locomotive cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 11 percent during testing.

Wabtec’s FLXdrive locomotive tested over 13,000 miles on BNSF in California earlier this year.

The next step in the development of a battery-electric locomotive, Wabtec said, will be creating battery capacity of more than 6 megawatt hours, which could reduce the fuel consumption and carbon emissions of a locomotive consist by up to 30 percent.

Such a locomotive could begin revenue service “in the next few years,” Wabtec said in a news release.

Wabtec said its efforts to develop zero-emission locomotives using batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and hydrogen internal combustion engines has “a clear path” to power new locomotives and re-power existing engines — with those forms of power.

The locomotives used in the BNSF test had 18,000 lithium-ion battery cells with 2.4 megawatts of power that were charged at rail yards and through regenerative braking.

A grant of $22.6 million from the California Air Resources Board to Wabtec, BNSF, and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District paid for the testing.

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