Aurizon releases Climate Strategy and Action Plan

Topic moved from News by bevans on 14 Oct 2020 13:21
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Something is better than nothing. Sydney trains bkk e and others do not have such a policy do they.

Aurizon releases Climate Strategy and Action Plan

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  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

There's talk Aurizon is currently finalizing designs for a new electric locomotive class.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

So a quick snapshot of Aurizon's Zero Carbon Action plan -

1. Locomotive emissions make up 90% of Aurizon's operating carbon footprint. Aurizon intends to cut these emissions to zero by 2050 - this will mean a complete phasing out and replacement of the existing diesel fleet within the next twenty-nine years.

2. Aurizon is spending $50-million to procure new hydrogen and/or battery heavy-haul locomotives, with prototypes to be operating by 2025. It is already working with other rail operators and manufacturers on this project.

3. Aurizon intends to maximise the use of its electrified network and focus on renewable energy suppliers for the network.
This plan will likely require additional electric locomotives - and possibly a revision of current Aurizon diesel workings into and through the electrified network.

4. Aurizon will be looking to Governments to develop policies to encourage rail use on key transport corridors. In Queensland this may mean revised network access pricing on the QR network, including the electrified North Coast Line between Nambour and Gladstone.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

So, speculative -

If long term metalurgical coal prospects remain stable the Action Plan will potentially drive the electrification of the 311km Newlands System and the 315km Moura System in the near future - which would cost around $700-million.

It may also see Aurizon finding a need for its currently unused catenary to Nogoa (just east of Emerald) under which the diesel operated Minerva coal trains run. Existing Aurizon diesel operations on QR's underused North Coast Line catenary may also be up from review if electric locomotives can beat the cost effectiveness of the proposed hydrogen and battery designs.
  djukinX1016 Deputy Commissioner

Am I missing something reducing carbon footprint and what is Aurizon’s main business??
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Am I missing something reducing carbon footprint and what is Aurizon’s main business??

What you're missing is Aurizon becoming Australia's first rail freight operator announcing the death of its diesel fleet in less than thirty years. We can quibble and giggle over the irony of their business model, but from the point of view of what hauls trains, this is as big a deal as the end of steam in the 1960s.

And if you do want to quibble, Aurizon makes most of its money hauling metalurgical coal, the carbon from which goes into steel. Until a functional replacement appears for steel and/or steel manufacturing, then Aurizon is going to need something to haul that coal. Aurizon's second largest traffic business is its 40-million tonne iron ore and alumina-related traffic in Western Australia, which will also need these replacement zero carbon locomotives.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Hydrogen locomotives make a lot of sense for branch and remote lines.  And Queensland has the potential for lots more solar energy to generate H2 via electrolysis etc.

The key will be getting the efficiency and cost to a competitive level with diesel (and that's not too far away IMO).
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
There's talk Aurizon is currently finalizing designs for a new electric locomotive class.

This to me is the low hanging fruit as this will immediately reduce their carbon footprint.  Especially on the NCL and the coal lines.  electric traction on the NCL should be mandated by the government as a carbon reduction measure.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Aurizon's statements that it's already in talks with manufacturers and other rail operators regarding battery and hydrogen prototype models points to at least one option Aurizon could be looking at. Progress Rail's Brazilian plant has just rolled out a metre gauge battery locomotive, trademarked as the EMD Joule, as a yard shunter for iron ore giant Vale. Like Aurizon, Vale has also announced plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. The Joule can produce 3,000hp and carries 1.9MW of lithium ion batteries with a possible upgrade to 2.4MW. At maximum power that's about 45-minutes running time - but Progress expects 24-hours between charging based on the expected power demands during shunting.

What is interesting about the Joule is that it has been built to EMD's narrow gauge export model kinematic envelope, opening the design up for use in Queensland either as a new build or using locally sourced 2170, 2300, 2300D and 2470 Aurizon cores.

Not that Aurizon has much use for a traditional shunting locomotive, a handful could probably replace the 2470s currently used in Queensland yards, but some shorthauls and transfers in Queensland and Western Australia might be a fit.

They could likely also be used as rechargeable slugs in conventional diesel or electric consists to reduce emissions when the conventional locomotives need more power and then charge when power demand is lower - offering a quick way of reducing emissions while new locomotive technologies are still being developed. In this scenario the larger 2800 and 3551 class bodies might also make useful rebuild cores.

With Aurizon expecting prototypes to be running by 2025 there's not a lot of lead time and the Joule is probably more advanced on the time scale than other freight locomotive options suitable for narrow gauge.

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