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ARENA invests in Aurizon electric freight trains project

The project by Aurizon aims to help decrease emissions in the rail freight sector

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced it is providing Australian rail freight operator Aurizon $9.4 million to help it deliver a new project aiming to electrify rail freight transport. 

The $18.8 million project is set to develop and trial a battery electric tender (BET) that aims to power a diesel-electric locomotive in a hybrid diesel and battery configuration. 

ARENA CEO Darren Miller says the project is addressing emissions challenge in one of Australia’s largest industries. 

“Aurizon’s BET is a world first that hopes to pave the way for the rail freight industry and help the resources industry on its decarbonisation journey,” Miller says. 

The BET propotype will consist of a purpose-built wagon housing a 1.8MWh battery. ARENA says when coupled with future battery electric locomotives, the BET could potentially provide enough power for up to 50 per cent of Aurizon’s commercial haul routes. 

Aurizon will also partner with technology company Alta Battery Technology to deliver the BET at a facility in Australia. 

Aurizon managing director and CEO Andrew Harding says the company aims to use battery and hydrogen power sources to deliver decarbonised freight solutions for its Australian customers. 

“We know that Aurizon will need different solutions for different hauls and customers,” Harding says. 

“We are committed to making the transition towards net zero operational emissions based on a locomotive fleet that uses zero emissions technologies that is flexible and suited to the challenging Australian conditions in which we operate. 

“By delivering a locomotive fleet that can tap into renewable energy sources, Aurizon and the rail industry can do the heavy lifting in decarbonising transport supply chains in Australia.  

“We are also working to increase the proportion of freight transported by rail rather than road, which would contribute to reducing overall transport sector emissions.” 

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