Vale partners with Wabtec on ammonia fuel study and orders three FLXdrive battery electric locomotives

Brazil-based metals and mining multinational Vale introduced a partnership with Wabtec Company to advance the decarbonization of Vale’s rail operations. The deal consists of an order for 3 of Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery locomotives and a collaboration to check ammonia as a possible clear, various gasoline to interchange diesel.

The three 100% battery-powered FLXdrive locomotives shall be used on the Carajás Railroad (EFC), which runs the world’s largest iron ore prepare consisting of 330 railcars transporting 45,000 tons. Right this moment, three to 4 diesel locomotives pull the prepare. The EFC runs 972 km (604 miles) from the Carajás Mine in Pará—the world’s largest open pit iron ore mine—to the Maritime Terminal of Ponta da Madeira, in Maranhão. At present, the complicated is chargeable for 150 million tonnes of iron per yr.


July 2018 Landsat image of the Serra Norte complicated of the Carajás Mine.

As soon as delivered, the FLXdrives will be part of the diesel locomotives to kind Brazil’s first hybrid consist (earlier post) pulling the prepare uphill for 140 kilometers in Açailândia, within the state of Maranhão, the place gasoline consumption is the best. The FLXdrives will exchange the 2 diesel locomotives, referred to as “dynamic helpers”, which might be used to drag the prepare uphill at the moment.

FLXdrive™ Battery-Electric Locomotive-21 (1)

FLXdrive 2.0 roof

FLXDrive locomotive just like these acquired by Vale. Credit score: Wabtec

Wabtec will construct the FLXdrive locomotives at its plant in Contagem (state of Minas Gerais). The locomotives’ supply is forecast for 2026.

Initially, we’re maximizing power effectivity, changing the diesel locomotives within the dynamic helper with battery ones, however the concept is that, sooner or later, the opposite locomotives on the prepare may be fueled by ammonia. This fashion, we might have a clear operation at EFC. This settlement is the primary of many who we’re in search of so as to speed up the decarbonization of our railway operation.

—Vale’s Director of Power, Ludmila Nascimento

Vale and Wabtec will work collectively on a research to make use of ammonia as a clear various gasoline, which doesn’t emit CO2. The research will initially be carried out as lab assessments to validate efficiency, emission reductions, and feasibility. Among the many benefits of ammonia is the truth that it permits the locomotive an extended vary than different carbon-free fuels. As well as, ammonia has a high-octane score and a longtime large-scale distribution infrastructure. The 2 firms will perform the research in a laboratory over the subsequent two years.

The FLXdrive locomotive’s power administration system recharges the batteries alongside the route because the prepare brakes.

It’s what we name regenerative power produced by dynamic braking. Right this moment, that power is misplaced when a conventional locomotive brakes. Within the downhill sections, we will recharge the batteries, with out having to cease the prepare’s operation.

—Alexandre Silva, Supervisor of Vale’s Powershift Program.

Vale launched the Powershift Program to check various applied sciences to interchange fossil fuels with clear sources within the firm’s operations.

The FLXdrive locomotives are estimated to save lots of 25 million litres of diesel per yr, contemplating the consumption of all of the railway’s trains that use the dynamic helper. This financial savings would scale back carbon emissions by roughly 63,000 tons—the equal emissions of round 14,000 passenger automobiles per yr.

Web Zero. In 2020, Vale introduced an funding of between US $4 and $6 billion to cut back its direct and oblique emissions (scopes 1 and a couple of) by 33% by 2030. Right this moment, Vale’s rail community represents 10% of the corporate’s carbon emissions. The initiative is another step in direction of reaching the objective of zero emissions internet carbon emissions by 2050, in keeping with the ambition of the Paris Settlement to restrict world warming to beneath 2°C by the tip of the century.
The corporate additionally dedicated to lowering its internet emissions from its worth chain (scope 3) by 15% by 2035.

One of many world’s largest producers of iron ore and nickel and a serious copper producer, Vale is headquartered in Brazil and operates world wide. Its operations comprise built-in logistics methods, together with roughly 2,000 kilometers of railways, marine terminals and 10 ports distributed across the globe.

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