Vale develops first 100% electric locomotive in Brazil

The pilot-phase for the EMD Joule locomotive is expected to be launched in H2 2020. Image from Progress Rail.

Vale (NYSE: VALE), in partnership with Progress Rail – a Caterpillar company – is developing a new 100% electric, battery-powered switchyard locomotive.

The pilot-phase for the EMD Joule locomotive is expected to be launched in H2 2020, at Vale’s Tubarão unit in the state of Espírito Santo.

The equipment is under the construction phase at the Progress Rail’s industrial plant in the state of Minas Gerais.

EMD Joule’s batteries will provide a 1.9 MWh storage capacity, expandable to 2.4 MWh, which means being able to operate up to 24 hours with no need to recharge, Vale said.

Today, rail accounts for almost 10% of Vale’s emissions

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by replacing diesel fuel with sustainable electric energy, the equipment also reduces noise, which mitigates its impacts on surrounding communities.

The 100% electric switchyard locomotive is part of the PowerShift Program to replace Vale’s energy sources with clean ones.

The company’s goal, it said is to reduce its direct and indirect emissions by 33% by 2030. Today, railroad accounts for almost 10% of Vale’s emissions.

“This equipment is a landmark on the strategy of decarbonization of Vale’s assets, and it is in compliance with the New Pact with Society,” said Gustavo Bastos, executive manager at Vale’s center of excellence and innovation.

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