Following the acquisition of an advanced engineering business, an Australian mining company announced the construction of the world’s first “infinity train,” which will employ electric and gravitational energy to never run out of power. The move moves them closer to their goal of zero emissions, which is a challenging undertaking for a corporation that transports large amounts of iron ore.
But how is it possible for a train to have seemingly endless energy? The train will be battery-powered on the way to its destination, which has a downhill grade sufficient to regeneratively charge the battery sufficiently for the return journey, according to Fortescue and the newly acquired Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE). This concept uses gravity to recharge the battery while it is filled with 34,404 tonnes of iron ore in 244 ore vehicles so that when it empties and becomes substantially lighter, it can simply return to its origin without the need for human recharging.
“The Infinity Train has the potential to be the most energy-efficient battery-electric locomotive in the world.” “The regeneration of electricity on the downhill loaded sections will eliminate the need for renewable energy generation and recharging infrastructure, making it a capital-efficient solution for eliminating diesel and emissions from our rail operations,” said Elizabeth Gaines, Fortescue’s Chief Executive Officer.
Fortescue, Australia’s fourth-biggest iron ore firm, used 82 million gallons of diesel in the previous financial year and believes the new technology will help them reduce emissions. Gravity as a source of energy, or energy storage in gravity batteries, is not a new notion – but it has yet to be widely used. Regenerative braking, a device that leverages the friction of slowing down the automobile when braking to recharge the battery, is now standard on most current cars. This is something that may be used in the Infinity Train.
In 2020, work on an energy storage plant in Nevada will begin, which would use unused renewable energy to drive massive trains uphill before storing it as gravitational potential energy to be released as needed. Although the business promises it will contain 50 Megawatts of energy, it is unknown how successful this will be. Gravity energy, on the other hand, has never been used on a train before. It has the potential to change the shipping sector if it is successful.
“FFI’s inexorable march to transform the world’s perspective on energy generation continues with the Infinity Train. To persuade global corporate executives and legislators that fossil fuels are only one source of energy, and that others, such as gravitational energy, are swiftly developing as more efficient, lower-cost, and environmentally friendly alternatives. In a statement, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, Founder and Chairman of Fortescue, stated, “The world must, and certainly can move on from its extremely polluting, lethal if not halted age of fossil fuel.”