• BNSF/Wabtec Battery-Electric Road Locomotive

  • Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.
Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.

Moderators: AMTK84, MEC407

  by mtuandrew
Was not expecting to see this press release:

http://www.bnsf.com/news-media/railtalk ... otive.html

BNSF and project partners are developing and will soon begin testing a battery-electric high-horsepower road locomotive (the type that moves freight trains from Point A to Point B). BNSF and other railroads have tested low-horsepower battery-electric locomotives in rail yards for years, but mainly for switching freight cars.


In 2018, BNSF and Wabtec (formerly GE Transportation) joined forces to begin developing a 100-percent battery-electric road locomotive prototype that works with conventional diesel locomotives to make a battery-electric hybrid consist. (Consist refers to when two or more locomotives are coupled together.) Performance testing of the hybrid is expected to begin in late 2020.
Sounds like it’s based off the ES44AC, but with 50,000 Li-ion batteries replacing the GEVO-12 prime mover. Kind of a road slug but with regenerative braking and power boost.
  by es80ac
Hope this does not mean the railroads will be springing up catenary all over the place in the future. Eletrified railroad certainly destroy the view and ambiance.
  by MEC407
No catenary. The batteries will be recharged by the dynamic brakes.
  by roc
Please feel free to correct.

Wabtec Battery-Powered Electric. If my math is right, a 2400Kw battery set can produce max 4400HP for 44 minutes. The interesting thing here is that these and similar mobile packs can be powered by wood pellets, wind, gas peaking, wind, solar — it's our choice.

Of choice, they can also be powered the ups and downs mountains throughout the nation. California, North Carolina, or Kane, PA's in n' out of town grades. Yes, perhaps a little pie in the sky, but the potential's surrounding rail, renewables is amazing.

Natural disasters? Drop a couple of these or similar units into the zones, logistics center to power, and/or strategically located microgrids.

I love these kind of technologies.

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... locomotive
  by mp15ac
Shouldn't this has been posted in the GE forums? Wabtec bought the GE locomotive division, not EMD's.
  by mtuandrew
The whole point of this locomotive seems to be to eliminate the need for catenary. Great news for California on Tehachapi and Cajon Passes, especially if BNSF needs helper sets there. Same for Stevens and Stampede Passes in Washington.

I wonder if they’ll be able to be precharged at the yard, like plug-in hybrids can be charged at home. Even if BNSF is able to get diesel at $2/gallon, that can’t compete with electricity per kilowatt-hour (horsepower-hour.)
  by bostontrainguy
mtuandrew wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:01 am The whole point of this locomotive seems to be to eliminate the need for catenary.
Don't really think this is the goal. No one is seriously talking about electrifying major freight routes. It's a battery powered freight locomotive that will supplement road diesels initially and maybe eventually even replace fossil fuel units someday. I'll admit that this idea seemed crazy to me initially but who knows, maybe it will work. I thought CNG was the next logical step.
  by spRocket
If it isn't already being considered, it might be worth exploring the possibility of running cables, slug-style, between the battery loco and the diesels in the consist. That way, energy from dynamic brakes over the entire consist could go to the batteries instead of resistor grids (which would still be available if the batteries were fully-charged).
  by mtuandrew
Yeah, I know no one has seriously considered catenary since the Powder River Extension, otherwise the BM&LP would have had many more copycat heavy-haul coal roads over the years. The only place I could feasibly see catenary having been seriously considered is California, and then for primarily regulatory reasons. (It would save money in the very long run, but not for many decades and not without governmental assistance.)

I don’t know if CNG/LNG is dead, but it seems like a pipe dream to me. Despite being dirt-cheap and readily available along every major Class 1 road, CNG is a low-density fuel and LNG requires specialized facilities. If I were in charge of motive power at one of those roads, I’d be taking a page from Elon Musk and skipping straight to battery storage technology too, even knowing it’ll take a decade to come to fruition. In states and localities with higher emissions standards* I’d use my expanding Tier 4 and Tier 3+ rebuild fleet as battery slug tenders until I had practical battery-electrics and charging facilities available; I wouldn’t concentrate on LNG since the shops don’t have service facilities for it.

If we are talking renewable energy initiatives rather than emissions or fuel savings, I’d concentrate on soy and biomass-based biodiesel. Soy in particular is dirt-cheap and rotting in farm fields with the trade war, and produces a fairly low-emissions fuel besides. It’s a high-density fuel comparable to regular diesel, and one that requires no new facilities and practically no equipment modifications.

* in addition to various other environmental harms, the current administration is attempting to Federalize all emissions standards and keep California (et al) from independently setting its own stricter standards. That might change railroads’ strategies in the LA Basin for instance.
Last edited by MEC407 on Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: unnecessary quoting
  by CLamb
It's key feature is that it can save energy otherwise wasted in dynamic braking. What would be really good is if it could to wired up to all engines so that the dynamic braking of all engines is used to re-charge the batteries. How much of the braking on freight runs is done using dynamic brakes?
  by mmi16
In the 21st Century, my understanding is that Dynamic Braking is being taught as the primary braking method (since there are no longer manned cabooses where people could be killed from slack action). With the carriers using a increasing amount of DPU motive power the slack action within trains is being attenuated. Air brakes are to be used when Dynamic do not give the required amount of retardation.
Last edited by MEC407 on Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: unnecessary quoting
  by Pensyfan19
BNSF to be the first class I railroad to test the Flexdrive soon.

https://www.railwaygazette.com/traction ... 06.article
USA: Wabtec has started conducting factory testing at its Erie plant of a prototype 4 400 hp battery locomotive, ahead of trial operations with BNSF that are planned to take place in the final quarter of this year.
BNSF and GE Transportation (now Wabtec) began development of the battery-electric locomotive in 2018, supported by a grant from the California Air Resources Board as part of its Zero & Near Zero-Emission Freight Facilities programme. The BNSF prototype is fitted with a lithium-ion energy storage unit with around 20 000 cells containing a combination of nickel, manganese and cobalt.
While BNSF and Wabtec have previously tested a battery shunting locomotive, this will be their first test of a main line design. Testing is to be undertaken on a 560 km route in California. The battery locomotive will operate in multiple with conventional diesel-electric locomotives between Barstow and Stockton, where a charging station will be installed at BNSF’s Morman Yard.
While the fixed charging station will provide an initial charge, the locomotive has been designed to capture kinetic energy through dynamic braking every time the train slows. The locomotive will use an advanced version of Wabtec’s train energy management software to look at the route ahead and calculate how to best use the available power to reduce the train’s overall fuel consumption. Operation on battery power in yards will also enable the other locomotives to idle or be shut down, reducing local emissions and noise.
‘We’re developing and testing the “next-generation” locomotive now to build our advantage over long-haul trucks, remain competitive and reduce our operating costs’, explained BNSF’s Vice-President, Environmental, John Lovenburg.