I hope that those of you who returned from your summer holidays recently did so in good health and nicely regenerated. Perhaps you had the opportunity to feel ‘infinitely’ refreshed in an ‘infinity pool‘. You must have heard of such pools before – but have you also heard of the ‘Infinity Train’? It’s a fully-electric train that, like a power station, produces more power on the rails than it itself consumes.
What may sound a little like a science fiction story could soon become reality Down Under. The Fortescue Metals Group is the driving force behind this innovative approach. It currently deploys 54 diesel locomotives to haul 3 km ore trains from Western Australia’s Pilbara region, where the mining corporation owns land twice the size of Switzerland, to Port Headland.
By 2030 Fortescue wants to operate completely emissions-free. To this end it brought the requisite know-how on board by taking over Williams Advanced Engineering last spring, which motor racing fans know from its involvement in Formula 1 car racing.
The basic idea is simple; it’s already deployed in electric road vehicles. In the ‘regenerative braking’ process, an electric motor is transformed into a generator, as it were, and uses the energy thus released to load a rechargeable battery. Loaded up in this way the engines can pull empty wagons to the higher mining areas, and then use the almost permanent braking process on the return journey downhill to generate new power.
The company even aims to feed excess power into its own corporate electricity network. An inspiring idea – as long as the ore deposits there continue to be suitable for commercial mining.
You’ll find similarly inspiring ideas on the following pages.
Enjoy your read!
Andreas Haug, editor