posted on 22nd Sep 2022 09:40
After four years of enforced hiatus, the InnoTrans is taking place again. On 20 September 2022, Wabtec and Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) signed a MoU for 150 FLXdrive battery-electric shunters and modernization work to transform the KTZ’s Class TE33A fleet into NextFuel liquid natural gas-powered (LNG) locomotives.
The investment marks the largest sustainable technology agreement by the CIS railways at present. Wabtec will build the FLXdrives and convert the locomotives to LNG at the LKZ facility in Nur Sultan (now again Astana). Production will begin in 2024.
Rafael Santana, President and CEO for Wabtec, said: “Since early 2000, KTZ has been the regional transportation leader in adopting state-of-the-art technologies and is honoring that legacy by pioneering the transition to a low-carbon rail network with Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery-electric technology. Using the FLXdrive in rail yards can significantly improve local air quality and reduce noise for neighboring communities. We are proud to partner with KTZ on this strategic investment.”
The FLXdrive shunters will be 100 % battery powered with more than 1.5 MWh of energy. They will be four-axle locomotives, similar to the Class KTZ’s Class TEM11A locomotives, of which two prototypes have been built so far, and the batch production is starting now (we are preparing an article).
Wabtec states that „the new battery shunters are a zero-emission solution for KTZ, enabling the operator to reduce the fuel cost of its yard operations by approximately 75,000 USD per shunter annually. The FLXdrives also will reduce scheduled maintenance by up to 97 % and avoid costly electrification investments.“ The FLXdrive technology has been developed over the last three years and has now been field tested in the USA for three months.
To support KTZ’s mainline fleet sustainability efforts, Wabtec will provide NextFuel kits to convert the Class TE33A Evolution locomotives to LNG. Wabtec’s NextFuel LNG mainline locomotives will increase the operational range of travel by more than two-fold - from 1,300 km to 3,000 km and decrease fuel costs by up to 26 %. There will now be a roughly three-month period of negotiations to further specify the details for signing the contract.
Wabtec and KTZ also will collaborate on digital solutions for the fleet. The first digital product is Trip Optimizer, providing fuel-efficient operation modes for freight trains to reduce fuel consumption by at least 5 %. Pilot testing is planned for the fourth quarter 2022 and with successful results it will be deployed on KTZ locomotives.