Fortescue Future Industries has acquired UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and announced they will develop a world-first zero emissions Infinity Train.
The regenerating battery electric iron ore train project will use gravitational energy to fully recharge its battery electric systems without any additional charging requirements for the return trip to reload.
“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,” Fortescue founder and chairman Dr Andrew Forrest said.
“The Infinity Train will join Fortescue’s green fleet under development and will contribute to Fortescue becoming a major player in the growing global market for green industrial transport equipment, providing great value for our shareholders.”
Forrest commented that while the commercial opportunities are obvious, there is also an opportunity to lower operating costs, eliminate the cost of diesel from the company and eliminate rail system carbon emissions.
“The Infinity Train continues FFI’s inexorable march to change the world’s attitude to energy generation,” he said. “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.”
Fortescue is aiming to be diesel-free by 2030.
The R&D costs for the Infinity Train are expected to be $68.4 million over the next two years and will be classified as operating cost efficiencies, with studies refining the capital estimate and schedule. The technology will help reduce emissions in the heavy industry sector with the opportunity to commercialise globally.
“The acquisition of WAE is an important step in Fortescue’s transition to a global green energy and resources company,” Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said. “We are rapidly establishing the building blocks which will allow us to fully integrate technologies, manufacturing capabilities and green energy generation and distribution to deliver across the entire value chain.
“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.”