Based in USA Union Pacific The railroad has struck partnership with green technology firm ZTR to develop new hybrid-electric locomotives.
The first prototype is scheduled for delivery by the end of next year.
Five additional hybrid-electric locomotives are expected to be delivered in 2024.
These locomotives, which will operate like a plug-in hybrid vehicle, can operate in multiple modes with different ways to charge the locomotive’s batteries, such as roadside and on-board charging.
Union Pacific will replace one diesel locomotive connected to an accessory or slug with two locomotives, which are known as “mother-snail” sets.
The float unit will be transformed and installed with batteries, power electronics and controls provided by ZTR.
This will allow the hybrid-electric “mother snail” to operate in single-motor, battery-charging or electric-only modes.
The engineless slug helps increase the traction engines available for the locomotive, as the new locomotives will be used primarily for yard operations.
Union Pacific began using mother-snail kits with ZTR’s Nexsys control systems in 2017.
The new locomotives will be built at Union Pacific’s North Little Rock facility in Arkansas.
Union Pacific Senior Vice President of Engineering and Mechanical Shane Keller said, “Adding hybrid-electric locomotives to our fleet is another important step for Union Pacific as we work to explore ‘inbound’ technologies that modify current systems and reduce our carbon footprint .
“This pilot project will help make our fleet more fuel efficient and continue to advance our commitment to achieving our sustainability goals, while testing the technology’s ability for expanded use across our locomotive fleet.”
Last month, Union Pacific launched a $600 million green bond offering to facilitate investments to support decarbonization.