World’s first regenerating battery train to be developed in Australia

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Fortescue has announced plans to develop the world’s first Infinity Train – a regenerating battery-electric iron ore train that will use gravitational energy to recharge its battery-electric systems.

The Infinity train will be developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), the UK-based offshoot of the Williams F1 Team famous for its ground-breaking initiatives in high-performance battery systems and electrification.

Fortescue acquired WAE for $A310 million in January. The acquisition was completed yesterday.

According to Fortescue Founder and Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest, the Infinity Train is set to accelerate Fortescue’s race to reach net-zero emissions by 2030, in addition to lowering operating costs, creating maintenance efficiencies and productivity opportunities.

“The Infinity Train will join Fortescue’s green fleet under development and will contribute to Fortescue becoming a major player in the growing global market for green industrial transport equipment, providing great value for our shareholders,” said Dr Forrest.

“The commercial opportunities are obvious for FFI as it pioneers this technology, captures its value and distributes it globally. Less obvious is that we have an opportunity to not only lower our operating costs, eliminate the cost of diesel from our company but of course eliminate our rail system carbon emissions.”

The company expects to pay around US$50 million over the next two years on studies and development of the Infinity train.

Fortescue currently operates 54 operating locomotives that tow 16 train sets, along with other on-track mobile equipment, each train with the capacity to haul 34,404 tonnes of iron ore in 244 ore cars.

According to the official announcement, the company’s rail operations consumed 82 million litres of diesel in 2021, which accounts for 11% of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions.

Once the Infinity Train is up and running and is fully implemented across Fortescue’s operations, it should significantly contribute to the company’s target to be diesel-free by 2030.

“The acquisition of WAE is an important step in Fortescue’s transition to a global green energy and resources company. We are rapidly establishing the building blocks which will allow us to fully integrate technologies, manufacturing capabilities and green energy generation and distribution to deliver across the entire value chain,” said Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines.

“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,” added WAE Chief Executive Officer, Craig Wilson.

Image credit: https://ffi.com.au/news/fortescue-williams-wae-settlement-powers-development-of-world-first-infinity-train/