Rio Tinto Orders Wabtec FLXdrive Battery Locomotives to Reduce Emissions
PITTSBURGH, January 10, 2022 — Wabtec Corporation (NYSE: WAB) and Rio Tinto announced today an order for four FLXdrive battery-electric locomotives to support sustainable operations of the mining company’s rail network in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The 100-percent, battery-powered locomotive will help Rio Tinto’s effort to achieve a 50-percent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2030.
“Our partnership with Wabtec is an investment in innovation and an acknowledgment of the need to increase the pace of our decarbonization efforts,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore Managing Director of Port, Rail and Core Services Richard Cohen. “By locking this in now, we are making progress in our efforts to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030.”
Rio Tinto ordered the newest version of the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, which features an energy capacity of 7 megawatt-hours (MWh). Based on the route from the mine to the port at Dampier in Western Australia and Rio Tinto’s mainline rail operations, the FLXdrive is anticipated to reduce the company’s fuel costs and emissions in percentage by double digits per train.
“The FLXdrive is ideally suited to support Rio Tinto’s sustainability targets for their Pilbara system,” said Rogerio Mendonca, President of Freight Equipment for Wabtec. “This locomotive provides the tractive effort, fuel savings, and emissions reductions to cost-effectively run rail networks in the mining industry. The rapid adoption of the FLXdrive by Rio Tinto and other mining operators demonstrates the industry’s commitment to decarbonizing their operations. This solution represents a major step toward achieving zero-emission locomotive fleets in the future.”
Wabtec will deliver the FLXdrive battery locomotives to Rio Tinto in 2023. The mining company plans on using the locomotives in multiple applications including as a shunter in the railyard and ultimately in mainline service. In mainline operations, Rio Tinto currently uses three diesel-electric locomotives in a consist to pull trains with 240 cars hauling about 28,000 tons of iron ore. The FLXdrives will transition from the diesel locomotives in mainline service to form a hybrid consist, and recharge during the trip through regenerative braking and at charging stations. Wabtec’s next generation energy-management software system will determine the optimal times to discharge and recharge the batteries along to route ensuring the most fuel-efficient operation of the entire locomotive consist during the trip.
“Rio Tinto is a progressive leader in the mining industry adopting advanced technologies necessary to drive sustainable, efficient operations that deliver results for its customers, shareholders, and communities,” said Wendy McMillan, Regional Senior Vice President South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand for Wabtec. “We are proud to continue our long-standing relationship with Rio Tinto and support their efforts to reduce emissions and operating costs with the FLXdrive battery locomotive.”
Wabtec continues to build momentum in the mining and rail markets for the FLXdrive battery locomotive. The FLXdrive is the world’s first 100-percent, battery-powered locomotive, and part of Wabtec’s goal to develop the next generation of zero-emission locomotives. The company has a clear path in the rail industry to power new locomotives – and repower existing locomotives – with batteries, hydrogen internal combustion engines, and hydrogen fuel cells. It is part of Wabtec’s vision for the rail industry to play a key role in building a clean energy economy and will enable the reduction of up to 300 million tons of global carbon emissions.
Wabtec Corporation (NYSE: WAB) is focused on creating transportation solutions that move and improve the world. The company is a leading global provider of equipment, systems, digital solutions and value-added services for the freight and transit rail industries, as well as the mining, marine and industrial markets. Wabtec has been a leader in the rail industry for over 150 years and has a vision to achieve a zero-emission rail system in the U.S. and worldwide. The company has approximately 27,000 employees located at facilities in 50 countries throughout the world. Visit Wabtec’s website at: www.wabteccorp.com.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a mining and metals company operating in 35 countries around the world. Our purpose is to produce the materials essential to human progress.
Our four product groups bring this purpose to life: Aluminium, Copper, Minerals and Iron Ore. These are complemented by our Safety, Technical and Projects, Strategy and Development, and Commercial groups, as well as our service and support functions.
Wabtec Media Contacts:
Tim Bader (United States contact)
tim [dot] bader [at] wabtec [dot] com
Sarah Smallhorn Guppy (Australia contact)
+61 7 3229 4499
sarah [dot] smallhornguppy [at] rowland [dot] com [dot] au
Rio Tinto Media Contacts:
+61 467 725 517
+61 438 990 238