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Image courtesy of Airbus and Fortescue Future Industries.


Electrifying Trains, Planes, & Dirty Big Mining Trucks

Twiggy has all the big boy toys, and he is planning to electrify them all and run them on green hydrogen and gravity. CleanTechnica has previously published on Fortescue Future Industries’ (FFI) purchase of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE). Twiggy Forrest is planning to use their battery tech in his push to electrify Fortescue’s mining equipment — trains, planes, and dirty big mining trucks.

Trains, Planes and dirty big Mining Trucks

Mining train hauling ore, viewed from a Tesla Model 3.

The big news this past week was a memorandum of understanding signed between FFI and Airbus. The two giant corporations are “collaborating to help enable the decarbonisation of the aviation industry through zero-emissions green hydrogen as fuel.”

“We are all citizens of a global world and people want to travel, reunite with family and friends and explore new places without being forced to pollute the planet,” Dr Forrest said. “The problem isn’t travel, the problem is how we fuel our planes and ships — all of that must turn emissions free. No greenwash, no mirage, just 100 per cent green.”

“I ask those remaining institutions who continue to invest in fossil fuels, to think of their kids. In particular, those so-called entrepreneurs who are supporting fossil fuel assets please consider your children’s future over your profits.”

The so called “Infinity Train” will be a world-first train set, running on batteries and gravity. A loaded iron ore train will create enough energy on the downhill run to the coast for offloading, to charge up the batteries and power the empty train back to the mine.

Using the battery tech of WAE, Fortescue Metals aims to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2030. Here are some more details:

“The Infinity Train has the capacity to be the world’s most efficient battery-electric locomotive. 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. …

“Fortescue’s current rail operations consumed 82 million litres of diesel in the 2021 financial year, accounting for 11 per cent of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions.”

“There are 54 operating locomotives and 16 train sets in the mining conglomerate’s rail fleet,” InnovationAus writes. “Per train set, 34,404 tonnes of iron ore can be hauled in 244 ore cars.”

With all his trains, planes, and dirty big mining trucks, one wonders if Twiggy is going to need a bigger sand box. Nah, he’s got all of Australia to play in.

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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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