Battery-powered Trains could soon be a reality, suggest researchers

A team of researchers at the University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have discovered that battery-powered trains could be economically viable as early as 2023. The paper on the study discusses that improved battery technology and inexpensive renewable energy could soon allow battery power to challenge diesel fuel to power trains.

Approximately, trains haul 40 percent intercity freight in the U.S., and transportation by train is cheaper than using trucks. Currently, in the U.S., most of the freight trains run on diesel to account for approximately total 0.6 percent carbon emissions. The shift to battery power could prevent the emissions, suggest researchers.

In the U.S., electric trains obtain the power from overhead lines, which is expensive and inefficient. Batteries could provide a better option, in particular a single locomotive equipped with a 14-megawatt battery system would be adequate to replace a train powered by a diesel engine. A locomotive with this battery power could approximately carry a train 240 kilometers in a single charge. This amounts to half the energy consumed by a diesel powered train. If a battery is charged using a renewable resource, the carbon footprint of an electric train would reduce to zero.

Currently, most of the diesel locomotives run on electricity and diesel is used to power onboard backup. Thus, it would only require for locomotives to remove the generators and place a dedicated boxcar just beyond the locomotive to tow a large battery. The addition of more devoted boxcars with batteries would elevate the running range of the train. The batteries could be charged at designated stations provided fast chargers are developed for such massive batteries.

Author: Rohit Bhisey

As Head of Marketing at TMR Research, Rohit brings to the table over a decade of experience in market research and Internet marketing. His dedication, perseverance, and passion for perfection have enabled him to achieve immense success in his field. Rohit is an expert at formulating new business plans and strategies to help boost web traffic. His interests lie in writing news articles on technology,healthcare and business.

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