Rio Tinto trusts electric trains will assist an organization with halving emissions

Rio Tinto trusts electric trains will assist an organization with halving emissions

Mining giant Rio Tinto is purchasing four battery-electric trains from US-based Wabtec for use at its Pilbara iron ore mines in Western Australia, as part of the miner’s ongoing efforts to halve its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030. Rio Tinto is hopeful the presentation of battery-electric powered trains in the Pilbara will assist the organization with halving its emissions by 2030.

The world’s no. 1 iron ore maker, which has a fleet of around 220 trains in the Pilbara, said it will begin beginning initial on-site trials of the four 7MWh FLXdrive locomotives in mid-2024.

Rio Tinto trusts a preliminary of these battery-electric trains run off solar power could make ready for its whole fleet of 220 diesel locomotives to go electric.

Four locomotives from Wabtec will be made in America in 2023 and become operational in the Pilbara the next year.

It noticed that a full change to net zero emissions technology of the whole fleet of rail locomotives would lessen Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s diesel-related carbon emissions in the Pilbara by around 30% per year.

The organization’s carbon emissions of port, rail, and core services, Richard Cohen, said getting the prototype locomotives, expected one year from now, will be a significant early step for the organization on the way toward a decarbonized Pilbara.

Rio Tinto Managing Director or Port, Rail, and Core Services, Richard Cohen, said the arrangement would add to the organization’s emission reduction targets.

“Our partnership with Wabtec is an investment in innovation and an acknowledgment of the need to increase the pace of our decarbonization efforts,” Cohen said in the statement.

The investment comes as costs for iron ore have taken off in recent days, hitting last week their highest levels since October. The commodity is liable for around 90% of the organization’s profits.

“We want to make sure by 2030 we’re not procuring any more diesel locomotives, and progressively as we stretch towards the goal of zero, will absolutely plan to replace all of our locomotives,” he said.

Rio Tinto trusts by supplanting its armada of trains to run off solar-generated electricity, the organization could cut its diesel-related carbon emissions from its Pilbara iron ore operations by 30%.

“As we strive to get our 50 percent reduction in emissions, one of the other projects we’re doing in the Pilbara is building a gigawatt of renewable power before 2030,” Mr Cohen said.

He said during the preliminary, Rio would evaluate how the trains perform and coordinate with the rest of the system.

“These locomotives won’t have quite the same power as our existing diesel locomotives, but we want to buy these four and then continue to work with Wabtec to build that capability,” Mr Cohen said.

“Eventually, we can do a one-for-one replacement between a diesel locomotive and a battery-electric locomotive.”

A fight between solar and hydrogen

Teacher of Sustainability at Curtin University, Peter Newman, said this investment signaled a trend for the industry.

“For many years now, I’ve been part of this discussion within the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change],” he said.

“It’s really been a battle between solar electric-based transport, and hydrogen fuel cell-based transport, which tends to be pushed very heavily by the gas industry.

“This is now saying that electric trains, that are basically fuelled by solar, are likely to be winning.”

Other resource organizations in the northwest were likewise increased efforts in solar energy.

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

Professor Newman said solar energy had become all the more economically reasonable for organizations in the state.

“We have all of the technology; we have the best sunshine,” he said.

“I think you’ll find that every mining company in the Pilbara right through the Goldfields everywhere in Western Australia have that as their agenda, how to phase out the diesel systems that are being used for electricity, they’re the dinosaurs of the future.”

As per Professor Newman, buyers and investors have additionally pushed for the change to renewables through an emphasis on carbon reduction methodologies.

“All of your investment decisions from here on have got to be about net zero, or you don’t get your funding. It’s being driven as much by the public and the community,” he said.

“The politics, globally, is saying we’ve got to get on and do something about climate change.”

Mounting pressure

Rio joins other iron ore makers in the Pilbara to adopt new technologies to cut emissions at their activities. Wabtec in September inked a deal to supply trains to Roy Hill Holdings, majority-owned by Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart.

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) declared last week that it would purchase two battery-electric trains from Caterpillar, additionally to be delivered in 2023.

In 2019, Rio carried out a A$1.37 billion ($982m) autonomous train fleet, at its Western Australia activities, said to be the world’s largest robot at the time.

The AutoHaul plan, part of the “Mine of the Future” project Rio launched in 2008, has permitted the miner to transport iron ore from 16 mines to ports in Dampier and Cape Lambert.

Rio has likewise been growing its fleet of autonomous take trucks, which are controlled from Perth.

The organization has been under pressure from investors to cut Scope 3 emissions, produced by its clients in the steel industry, which represents around 7% of global emissions.

The miner plans to lessen the emissions generated by its steel-production customers by 30% over the next decade. That is per rival BHP (ASX: BHP), albeit not quite as driven as Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG). The world’s fourth-biggest iron ore maker plans to accomplish net-zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040.