Vale to trial electric locomotive

In what is described as a first for Brazil’s mining industry, Vale is developing an electric locomotive with Caterpillar’s Progress Rail.
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Vale will trial a fully electric switchyard locomotive at its Tubarão operations in Espírito Santo state

Staff reporter

The miner said the 100% electric, battery-powered switchyard EMD Joule locomotive is under construction at Progress Rail's industrial plant in Sete Lagoas in Minas Gerais state.

Vale expects to start a pilot test in the second half of this year at its Tubarão unit, which comprises railway, pelletising and port operations.

Vale said the move contributes to its strategy to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2030, and the equipment also reduces noise emission, which mitigates its impact on communities surrounding operations.

Railroad emissions currently account for almost 10% of its total Scope 1 and 2 emissions, it said.

"This equipment is a landmark on the strategy of decarbonisation of Vale's assets, and it is in compliance with the New Pact with society," Vale's Centre of Excellence and Innovation executive manager Gustavo Bastos said.

Progress Rail said the battery capacity was 1.9 MegaWatt hours, expandable to 2.4MWh, and it could operate for up to 24 hours before needing recharging.