Of United States, trains generate 2% of the emissions produced by the transport sector. As for freight trains, they emit 35 million metric tons of CO2 per year. Due to pollution, this sector would cause almosta thousand premature deaths per year. However, there is an interesting solution according to a recent study. This is’equip trains merchandise diesel-electric of batteries.
Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) studied the benefits of this kind of initiative. During their research, they discovered that fully electric trains may be more interesting than using diesel. Profits on the economic plan as well as’environmental and health are particularly advantageous.
During the study, these researchers collaborated with researchers at UCLA and UC Berkeley. In addition, they published the results in the journal Nature Energy November 11, 2021.
From diesel-electric train to electric train equipped with batteries
The diesel-electric trains use a diesel motor and one alternator to generate electricity. THE’electricity thus produced makes it possible to supply a electric motor which drives the locomotive.
If they already existed in 1920, diesel-electric trains began to take the place of steam trains in the 1930s. diesel-electric trains were more affordable than fully electric trains. the high price of electricity was the cause.
However, the cost of electricity now rivals that diesel, allowingto equip electric trains with more interesting batteries. In addition, diesel-electric trains already carry a electric motor. Rethinking them so that power is supplied by a battery is therefore possible.
A significant drop in air pollution?
Besides expenses, electric trains equipped with batteries present strong points not to be overlooked from the point of view ecological. Researchers from Berkeley Lab mention in particular the drop in health impacts. For the US rail sector, this approach would even make it possible tosave $ 94 billion over 20 years. The reduction of atmospheric pollution, and therefore of health costs, would be at the origin of this saving.
“Our analysis shows that the switch to battery-electric freight will cut the industry’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by more than half, eliminating over 400 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide over 20 years. “
Natalie Popovich, researcher
In addition, the researchers believe that awith the battery technology current freight trains could travel about 150 miles. This already represents the average distance that these trains travel daily.