Innovative trains | battery locomotives Developing the EMD battery locomotive

Progress Rail developed the 2.4MW EMD Joule battery electric locomotive after winning a contract from Brazilian operator Vale. As passenger rail embraces alternative modes of traction to reduce emissions, freight continues to prove more challenging due to the higher output required. However, development on battery-powered locomotives capable of meeting these tough requirements is underway, as Gary Eelman, senior vice-president, Transit & Global Rail Engine Sales at Progress Rail explains.

S governments and operators seek innovative solutions to meet these proposal for a new 120 , 2.23MW ways to reduce greenhouse gas standards. battery electric locomotive capable of Aemissions from rail operation, In South America, mining giant Vale achieving the required duty cycle. manufacturers are continuing to test has a climate change goal to “reduce Progress Rail was awarded the new technologies such as battery- absolute greenhouse gas emissions by contract in August 2019, and began to powered traction to support this shift. 33%, in line with the Paris Agreement, design what has since become the 2.4MW In some , the focus has been on and become carbon neutral by 2050.” EMD Joule battery electric locomotive, particulate emissions reductions in an One of the projects launched to achieve the first “zero emissions” locomotive in effort to improve air quality. In the this, Power Shift, seeks to “boost Vale’s fleet, based on an EMD GT-type United States, the Environmental technological innovation to reduce international locomotive platform. Protection Agency (US EPA) has greenhouse gas emissions in operations,” Progress Rail chose to install a lithium implemented stricter emissions highlighting rail as a specific of ion phosphate battery (LFP) in the EMD regulations for both road and non-road focus. Joule due to its inherent safety, including vehicles with new diesel-electric Progress Rail and Vale agreed in 2019 thermal stability, and its density. locomotives now required to comply to conduct a study identifying carbon That battery has a service life of around with US EPA Tier 4 emissions. Similarly reduction options for their rail system. 15 years, although this could be in the European Union, regulators The efforts were led by Progress Rail’s extended depending on the loads require new diesel-electric locomotives Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, facility in hauled during operation. The battery is to meet EU Stage IIIB. Brazil. Seven different battery-electric charged using a reverse pantograph, To support operators endeavouring to locomotive (BEL) models, both new and although other charging methods are meet these new regulations, Progress repowered, were identified as potential possible. The locomotive was designed Rail, a Caterpillar company, has made candidates to accomplish Vale’s and built in Progress Rail’s Sete Lagoas significant effort to comply with objectives. Following the completion of facility using the latest in power regulations while also developing the report, Vale issued a request for electronics technology and microprocessor 28 IRJ April 2021 controls for the battery management than current diesel locomotives Technical specifications system (BMS). working in the same service.” Validation and testing began on site In the Northern Hemisphere, Pacific Model: EMD Joule in early 2020. Service and operations Harbor Line (PHL), which operates in Output: 2.24MW staff were also trained in how to operate the ports of Los Angeles and Long Gauge: 1000mm and maintain the locomotive. The EMD Beach, is also looking to decarbonise its Weight: 120 Joule was delivered to Vale in September rail operation. Progress Rail has Axleload: 20 tonnes of last year despite the Covid-19 previously worked closely with PHL to Wheel arrangement: Co-Co pandemic. supply creative emissions solutions for Maximum : 80km/h The reports from staff are positive: the their operations in the ports of Los Length over coupler faces: 17,970mm locomotive makes very little noise, and Angeles and Long Beach. PHL operates Height above rail: 3820mm the cabs are modern and comfortable. in a densely populated areas and makes Width over handrails: 2825mm Stakeholders have been impressed with great efforts to ensure its operation the performance of the locomotive, continues to serve the needs of its same battery types as the EMD Joule which is now hauling up to 9000 trailing customers while at the same time produced for Vale, with both locomotives tonnes up to five times a in Vale’s reducing CO2 and particulate emissions. using ac traction motors along with the Vitoria yard. The locomotive recovers Shortly after the EMD Joule latest in power electronics. about 10% of its braking energy from demonstration with Vale was announced, Progress Rail continues to engage dynamic braking, including during Progress Rail and PHL reached an with customers with the goal of further yard operation. The unit has now agreement to launch another EMD Joule developing the EMD Joule for additional entered full revenue service at Vale’s locomotive project in California. regions and applications. It is also taking Tubarao yard following the completion Under the November 2020 agreement, orders for the platform. The EMD Joule of testing. Progress Rail will supply the EMD Joule is designed with modularity in mind, The executive manager at Vale’s locomotive for a demonstration project, and can support various power levels Excellence Centre and Innovation operating in the Ports of Los Angeles depending on customer needs. department, Mr Gustavo Bastos, says the and Long Beach. The PHL locomotive, The EMD Joule fits in an emerging EMD Joule is an important step towards which is being built in Brazil on a six- area of battery technology exploitation. the development of solutions to achieve axle EMD SD40-2 platform, is due to be Other efforts in sustainability beyond Vale’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. delivered later this year. battery electric locomotives include the “This equipment represents a milestone “The EMD Joule is the first battery use of biodiesel, liquefied in Vale’s operations decarbonisation electric switcher locomotive designed (LNG), and hydrogen. All of these are strategy and is aligned with its new by a major locomotive supplier for part of the sustainability and pact with society,” Bastos says. North America that appears robust decarbonisation puzzle. “It was extremely important for us to enough for the demanding PHL “We see broad opportunities for our develop a demonstration project with environment,” says PHL president, Mr advanced technologies in the global rail Vale to create a product that met every Otis Cliatt. “What Progress Rail and industry not only for battery locomotives, operational requirement they had,” says PHL will learn from this demonstration but also for alternative , hydrogen Mr Sidarta Beltramin, engineering will hopefully advance the prospects for cell applications, train automation, director at Progress Rail. “We focused zero emission locomotive solutions in and supply chain optimization,” says our on ensuring that the EMD the San Pedro Bay ports.” Mr Marty Haycraft, president and CEO Joule performed as well as or better The PHL locomotive will use the of Progress Rail. IRJ

Progress Rail will supply an EMD Joule locomotive to Pacific Harbour Line in California for a demonstration project. IRJ April 2021 29