Norfolk Southern is the latest company to push a piece of heavy industrial machinery into green territory with their 100% electric NS 999 locomotive. The zero-emissions train makes use of 1,080 12-volt batteries that allows it to run for 24 hours on a single charge--all while carrying the same load as a conventional locomotive.
Developed in conjunction with the Department of Energy, the 1,500 horsepower machine makes use of regenerative braking for extra power and is also able to recharge in just two hours (requiring calibration once a week).
And here's the best part: Norfolk Southern says it costs the same to make as a traditional locomotive. So from the sounds of it, there's no downside to shoving the old coal-guzzling engines to the side (along with their their significant greenhouse gas emissions).
What type of batteries dos this use, I had hoped to see molten salt battery catch on with electric trains and semi trucks.
coal guzzling engines? Most of NS fleet are diesel-electrics. This battloco most likely will recharge on coal-fired electric power. CO2 emissions will be higher on the mine to rail for this guy than a comparable diesel fueled engine.
Coal-guzzling engines ?? What is this, 1920? ;) But how about covering the roofs of all those boxcars with solar cells? There's a whole lotta square footage up there.
This only makes sense for the antiquated railways of the NE. Where by the way rail first go started and the most antiquated of ideas are imbedded.
The reason this works for NS is that they are always stopping and going.
Out west where there are hundreds of miles where trains can go 90 mph this makes little sense. So a niche solution it is.
The real solution for rail is to recognize that rail costs are mostly dependent on geography. Routes can vary from 1 to 100 in cost per mile. Those that are 1 are flat and those that are 100 are hilly like the applacians. If you are out west the cost goes to 1000.
The routes that make sense are through the mississippi, along the southern flat plains, and alonng the eastern seaboard plains. THese are areas of 1 in cost and we could see freight moving at 200 mph or above as the cost to build this high speed in these areas is reasonable. Out west there are three tradition routes. I-80, southern route, and nothern route. The two that make the most sense for rail are the I-80 route and the souther route.
How nice that we have a good retrofit scheme for antiquated rail systems. But to really goose our economy we need to see rail freight competing with air freight. Then if you have a supplier in NY it would not make much sense to pay extra $$ for a supplier in Texas. This dynamic would not only control costs but would more importantly allow greater specialization of services in the USA.
Nice press but economically insignificant is how I would characterize this development.
The locomotive itself may be zero-emisssions.
Is the coal-fired power station that generates the electricity to charge it also zero-emissions?
An electric car is zero-emissions.
Is the coal-fired power station that generates the electricity to charge it also zero-emissions.
I am all for making every effort to stop destroying our only planet.
I think we should be intelligent enough to find ways to actually produce clean energy, rather than patting ourselves on the back for pushing the problem one step back.
I'm pretty sure I read that emissions are less for an electric car assuming the current electricity generation mix than for a conventional gas powered car, because a large power plant is more efficient than a small engine. The same might very well be true for a diesel locomotive. In any case the grid will only get greener so it makes sense to build these vehicles now. My question is how do they recharge it in two hours when it can take a much much smaller EV 3+ hours?
@Chuckamok- if they put panels on all the cars it was pulling then you might have something.
All diesel locomotives are actually diesel-electric hybrids, a fact most people don't know.
Hence any diesel locomotive could be turned into this battery-driven locomotive simply by swapping the diesel with a bunch of batteries - or even better - by simply adding a battery-car.
This way, these battery-cars could be exchanged as needed.
Ideally, the necessary batteries inside would actually be previously used and recycled car batteries, which have been regenerated.
To recharge them, one nifty way would be to install solar cells on top of each car.
Another (more crazy) idea: To install solar panels between the track beams of the railroad tracks (a vast amount of free, protected and flat surface area) and feed the energy into the nearest available battery car ... fascinating, endless possibilities ...
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Actually these locomotives are not meant for road duty at all. They are exclusively designed as switching units in yards. Making the regenerative braking extremely efficient. And useful to all railroads.
Consider where we were even just two years ago with this stuff: electric seemed at best niche and in any case years away.
Four-buck gasoline can sure be an equation-changer, can't it?
This is a dumb idea..it would not last more than a couple of hrs pulling 50 or more car train despite the 24 hr claim. I would rather see LNG fueled locomotives put in service.
All i can say about this concept is FINALLY! This is just the kind of thing we need. Trains are already very fuel efficient and now they can consume no fuel
It's only 1500hp - a light switch engine (in a much larger body).
Your standard road engine (EMD SD70, GE GEVO) is 4300-4400hp.
It also probably gets a lot of it's 24 hours on single (how long does it take?) charge simply by being at a dead stop frequently while waiting for someone to throw a switch or hook up air hoses or the like.
It's nice, it's a great idea... it's not a panacea that ought to replace all locomotives.
This battloco most likely will recharge on coal-fired electric power. CO2 emissions will be higher on the mine to rail for this guy than a comparable diesel fueled engine.
THese are areas of 1 in cost and we could see freight moving at 200 mph or above as the cost to build this high speed in these areas is reasonable. Out west there are three tradition routes. I-80, southern route, and nothern route. The two that make the most sense for rail are the I-80 route and the souther route.
This is absolutely insane, this is got to be the largest hybrid vehicle on earth wow!