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Rail News: Mechanical

Hybrid locomotives to number 500 by 2020, Pike Research says


By 2020, hybrid locomotive sales will reach about 500 units, representing an increased portion of the total locomotive market, according to a recent report by market research and consulting firm Pike Research.

Nearly all locomotives used today are powered via electricity generated by a diesel engine or provided through an electric grid connection. Hybrid locomotives are an emerging alternative that are powered by stored energy from large capacity batteries, according to the report.

Between 2011 and 2020, hybrid locomotives in operation will require about 514 megawatt hours of battery capacity, most of which will be stored in lead acid and advanced lead acid batteries, with a portion in sodium metal halide and lithium ion batteries, the report states. Hybrid locomotives are a demanding application for advanced batteries, and innovation “could provide a boost to some of the battery chemistries being tested for other uses, mostly stationary applications,” Pike Research officials said in a prepared statement.
The adoption of hybrid locomotives primarily will be driven by significant emission reductions (up to 80 percent) and fuel savings (between 15 percent and 40 percent) compared with conventional diesel locomotives, according to the report. Other benefits include reduced noise levels and lower maintenance costs, Pike Research officials said.