The Australian mining company, which wants to reduce its carbon emissions, plans to run its trains carrying giant iron ore forever without any external power.
Although its name is infinity, in fact, the train does not create energy out of nothing. What it does is use the stored gravitational energy in freight trains going from the elevated position to the port at sea level.
A total of 2.8 kilometers long, 244 freight wagons, 40,000 tons of empty weight train carries 34,400 tons of iron ore. The iron ore freight train reaches the port 450 meters below, covering 280 kilometers in five hours.
During the descent, the train, which converts the gravitational energy into electricity and stores it in the batteries, turns the electrical energy back into gravitational energy as it goes up again. The special feature of being able to do this forever is that it is heavy when descending and light when going up after unloading it.
As you know, when you reverse the electric motor, if its structure is suitable, it can also work as a generator. In the same way, electric or hybrid cars also provide energy gain by performing regenerative braking in this way.
This train does exactly the same when it comes down, but when it goes up it goes down to half its weight, so the energy it gains when it goes down is twice as much as it needs to go up. For this reason, it has the capacity to easily compensate for most of the friction, air resistance, charge and engine losses that will occur. As the train descends, it stores approximately 91 MWh of electrical energy in the battery wagons it carries. The weight of these batteries is about 690 tons. This seemingly huge figure is actually only 2% of the train’s total weight.
The project was undertaken by Williams Advanced Engineering company, which is famous for making electric formula 1 vehicles. The project, with a total cost of 50 million dollars, will be completed within 2 years, and then 54 diesel locomotives and 16 train sets will be replaced in a way that will never consume fuel again, saving millions of liters of diesel consumption per year.