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Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends

5/13/2009



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

GE to build hybrid locomotive battery plant in New York


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GE Transportation plans to spend $100 million to build a state-of-the-art plant in upstate New York to produce advanced storage batteries for hybrid locomotives and other applications.

The new battery business would serve customers in the rail, marine, mining, telecommunications and utility sectors. GE already invested more than $150 million to develop advanced battery technologies, including a high energy-density sodium-based chemistry battery that will provide energy storage for a variety applications, such as the Evolution® hybrid locomotive. The battery business will be led by Tina Donikowski, GE Transportation’s general manager of propulsion and specialty services.

“This leading commercial-grade battery technology is essential in advancing our hybrid development programs, and a vital step in the evolution of high-tech and green transportation solutions,” said GE Transportation President and Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Simonelli in a prepared statement.

New York state officials have pledged more than $15 million in incentives for the 200,000-square-foot plant, which is projected to open in mid-2011. GE plans to file an application with the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain stimulus funding for the facility.

The plant would be located in close proximity to GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y., where the company has developed battery chemistry advances. At full capacity, the facility could produce about 10 million cells, or enough energy to support 1,000 GE hybrid locomotives, the company said.

The battery technology will enable the firm to be the first manufacturer to introduce a hybrid, heavy-haul freight locomotive designed to reduce emissions and boost fuel efficiency, according to GE.

In May 2007, GE Transportation introduced a demonstrator unit of the Evolution hybrid locomotive. The company continues to further develop the unit, which would capture energy dissipated during train braking and store the power in a series of onboard batteries.


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