Rio Tinto hopes electric trains will help company halve emissions

Mining big Rio Tinto is optimistic the introduction of battery-electric powered trains within the Pilbara will help the company halve its emissions by 2030. 

Rio Tinto hopes a trial of those battery-electric trains run off solar energy might pave the way in which for its total fleet of 220 diesel locomotives to go electric.

Four locomotives from Wabtec will be made in America in 2023 and turn out to be operational within the Pilbara the next 12 months.

Rio Tinto Managing Director or Port, Rail, and Core Services, Richard Cohen, stated the plan would contribute to the company’s emission discount targets.

“We wish to make certain by 2030 we’re not procuring any extra diesel locomotives, and progressively as we stretch in direction of the purpose of zero, will completely plan to exchange all of our locomotives,” he stated. 

Rio Tinto hopes by changing its fleet of trains to run off solar-generated electrical energy, the company might reduce its diesel-related carbon emissions from its Pilbara iron ore operations by 30 per cent. 

train with trees in the background
The first 4 battery-electric trains will be trialled all through Rio Tinto’s Pilbara community.(Supplied: Rio Tinto )

“As we attempt to get our 50 per cent discount in emissions, one of many different tasks we’re doing within the Pilbara is constructing a gigawatt of renewable energy earlier than 2030,” Mr Cohen stated. 

He stated in the course of the trial, Rio would assess how the trains carry out and combine with the remainder of the system.

“These locomotives will not have fairly the identical energy as our current diesel locomotives, however we wish to purchase these 4 after which proceed to work with Wabtec to construct that functionality,” Mr Cohen stated.

A battle between photo voltaic and hydrogen

Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University, Peter Newman, stated this funding signalled a development for the business. 

“For a few years now, I’ve been a part of this dialogue inside the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change],” he stated. 

“This is now saying that electric trains, which can be mainly fuelled by photo voltaic, are prone to be profitable.”

Other useful resource corporations within the north west have been additionally ramping up efforts in photo voltaic vitality.

On Monday, Woodside made an environmental submission for a proposed photo voltaic farm close to its Pluto LNG Plant within the Pilbara.

A close-up photograph of Curtin University's Peter Newman.
Curtin University Professor of Sustainability Peter Newman says this funding indicators that photo voltaic electric primarily based transport would exchange diesel in heavy transport.(ABC News: Jessica Warriner)

Professor Newman stated photo voltaic vitality had turn out to be extra economically viable for corporations within the state.

“We have all the expertise; now we have the very best sunshine,” he stated. 

“I feel you will discover that each mining company within the Pilbara proper by way of the Goldfields all over the place in Western Australia have that as their agenda, learn how to part out the diesel methods which can be getting used for electrical energy, they’re the dinosaurs of the longer term.”

According to Professor Newman, shoppers and buyers have additionally pushed for the transition to renewables by way of insistence on carbon discount methods.

“The politics, globally, is saying we have got to get on and do one thing about local weather change.”

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