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World’s first electric ‘Infinity Train’ recharges its batteries using gravity

Fortescue CEO says 2.8km-long train will be ‘world’s most efficient battery-electric locomotive’

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 03 March 2022 12:01 GMT
Battery-electric ‘Infinity Train’ will first be used to transport loads of iron ore in Australia
Battery-electric ‘Infinity Train’ will first be used to transport loads of iron ore in Australia (Fortescue Metals Group)

An Australian iron ore firm has purchased a UK-based battery firm to develop the world’s first ‘Infinity Train’, which uses gravitational energy to recharge the locomotive as it moves.

Its creators claim the next-generation technology will mean the battery-electric train can transport materials without ever needing to stop to recharge.

Perth-based Fortescue said its acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) would massively accelerate the transition to green energy and help the industry cut carbon emissions to zero by the end of the decade.

“The Infinity Train will not only accelerate Fortescue’s race to reach net zero emissions by 2030, but also lower our operating costs, create maintenance efficiencies and productivity opportunities,” said Dr Andrew Forrest, founder and chairman of Fortescue.

“To move business leaders and politicians globally to the realisation that fossil fuel is just one source of energy and there are others now, like gravitational energy, rapidly emerging, which are more efficient, lower cost and green. The world must, and clearly can, move on from its highly polluting, deadly-if-not-stopped epoch of fossil fuel.”

The Infinity Train works by using gravitational energy to fully recharge its battery-electric systems without needing any additional charging requirements to make the return trip to reload.

Fortescue operates 16 different train sets, each around 2.8 kilometres in length and with the capacity to haul 34,404 tonnes of iron ore in 244 cars.

The system currently relies on diesel engines, which consume 82 million litres of fuel every year. The company estimates that it will cost $50 million to develop the Infinity Train, which they then hope to commercialise globally.

“The Infinity Train has the capacity to be the world’s most efficient battery-electric locomotive,” said Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines.

“The regeneration of electricity on the downhill loaded sections will remove the need for the installation of renewable energy generation and recharging infrastructure, making it a capital efficient solution for eliminating diesel and emissions from our rail operations.”

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