Diversified mining major Vale, in partnership with Progress Rail – part of US group Caterpillar – is developing a new 100% electric, battery-powered switchyard locomotive.
The initiative forms part of the iron-ore miner’s strategy of reducing direct and indirect emissions (Scope 1 and 2). The group has set a target of slashing emissions by 33% by 2030.
Scope 1 emissions come from Vale's own sources or operational control, while Scope 2 emissions are indirect, related to the generation of electricity purchased by the company.
Railroad emissions account for about 10% of Vale's total Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Thus, if this technology is proven to be feasible, the electric equipment may contribute to the reduction of railroad emissions, Vale said in a statement on Tuesday.
"This equipment is a landmark in the strategy of decarbonisation of Vale's assets, and it is in compliance with the New Pact with Society,” commented Vale Center of Excellence and Innovation executive manager Gustavo Bastos.
In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by replacing diesel fuel with sustainable electric energy, the equipment also reduces noise emission, which mitigates its impacts on the communities surrounding Vale operations.
A pilot phase will be launched in the second half of the year at the miner’s Tubarão unit, in the state of Espírito Santo.
The equipment for the EMD Joule locomotive is under construction at the Progress Rail's industrial plant, in Minas Gerais. EMD Joule's batteries will provide a 1.9 MWh storage capacity, expandable to 2.4 MWh, which means being able to operate up to 24 hours with no need to recharge.