How do you decarbonise the heavy rail freight industry? Aurizon and Anglo American are working together to do just that. Anglo American is committed to carbon neutral mines by 2040 and is already using a prototype truck at its Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine in South Africa. Aurizon is working towards carbon neutrality by 2050 by replacing diesel with hydrogen fuel cells in its locomotives.
They plan to deploy the technology on the “rail corridor that operates between Anglo American’s Dawson metallurgical coal mine and the Gladstone Port, and the Mount Isa rail corridor that operates between the North West Minerals Province to Townsville Port.”
Aurizon is already working with research groups from Australian universities and industries. They plan to not only decarbonise, but also to improve cost effectiveness. Hopefully they will also team up with Twiggy Forrest in his push for green hydrogen to power heavy transport.
“Zero-carbon hydrogen-powered trains would also significantly boost the current environmental benefits of transporting more of Australia’s bulk freight on rail. Rail freight already produces up to 16 times less carbon pollution per tonne kilometre than road.
“Aurizon is excited to be teaming up with Anglo American on this project, particularly given their success to date in developing unique technology solutions for use in mine haul fleets,” said Aurizon’s Managing Director & CEO Andrew Harding.
“This collaboration with Aurizon is a great example of the power of partnerships to help address the urgent issue of climate change, while we also look to catalyse new markets to support the development and growth of the hydrogen economy,” said Tyler Mitchelson, CEO of Anglo American in Australia.
The Queensland North West Mineral Province contains about 75% of the state’s base metal and minerals, including copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold, cobalt, and vanadium. It is a globally significant supplier.
Ironically, it appears that the main beneficiary of this technological change will be the transportation of metallurgical coal. Hopefully, as the use of green hydrogen spreads and production increases, we will see fuel cell freight trains employed in the transportation of all of the minerals that are necessary for the energy transition.
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