This opportunity relates to a fully electric, battery-powered locomotive. The charge in the batteries may be replenished by either regenerative braking, or via grid-connected charging points.

Application relevance

Energy storage is a key restriction on range if storage is used. Only one prototype has been developed using this technology. This suggests a long timeframe before a commercially viable system can be competitive and adopted on a wide scale.

Potential benefits

The prototype storage system is charged from the grid and can avoid the use of all diesel fuel by charging 1080 12-volt batteries. One charge is expected to provide three eight-hour switching locomotive duty cycles.

Key implementation considerations

Capital cost is prohibitive at this early stage. No performance information was provided.

Examples of implementation

Norfolk Southern website media release 

This media release discusses features of the NS 999 prototype, a plug-in all-electric 1500 hp switching locomotive. It uses a lead-acid energy storage system composed of 1080 12-volt batteries. This resource is useful for operators wishing to understand the development stage of the technology and key constraints (Norfolk Southern 2009).

For the full report, see Fuel for Thought – Identifying potential energy efficiency opportunities in the Australian road and rail sectors (opens in a new window) PDF 1.5 MB.