By developing environmentally friendly solutions to sell to others, a mining company known as Fortescue is working to clean up its "record" (without greenwashing, I mean) by 2030. The company founded Fortescue Future Industries, which recently acquired and distributes green technology through a subsidiary called Fortescue Future Industries. Today, the group announced its first project: an "infinite" electric train (actually called the "Infinity Train") designed to move loads of iron ore without needing to be recharged.
The Infinity Train has the potential to be the world's most efficient battery-powered electric locomotive, according to Elizabeth Gaines, CEO of Fortescue. "The downward loading sections will regenerate electricity, eliminating the need for renewable generation and charging infrastructure, making it a capital-efficient solution to eliminate diesel and emissions from our rail operations," he added.
How does Infinity Train work?
I have to be honest: basically not a lot of details have been given - all I can assume is that for one or more Fortescue mining sites, the team has calculated that there is enough downhill slope and braking opportunities in the load direction. to charge the battery regeneratively.
I also imagine that the difference in weight of the unloaded train compared to the loaded one is so high that it allows the battery to bring a significantly lightened train back to the mine, and start the journey again without the need for a charge. It is precisely that name, "Infinity Train" that clashes. With physics, first of all.
In other words: I see everything a bit confused.
And then a few questions
I find Infinity Train an interesting and suggestive project, and I can't wait to find out more. For example, apart from specific cases, what are the topological parameters by which an "infinite" train such as this can function? Is this technology applicable to wetter regions with less friction than the Western Australian desert? Is it a unique use case or something that can be extended to other markets?
If in doubt, I will take a look at the (extremely) large list of green technology projects envisaged by this Fortescue Future Industries. Among these, I read, the first ship in the world powered by ammonia (expected by the end of 2022) and hydrogen trucks.
Will he be able to reconcile the word "mine" with the word "sustainable innovation"?
Of course the challenge is great. And the questions are many.