We’ve done bikes, cars, boats, and even planes here at Transportation Tuesday, but we never expected to see this one. As part of General Electric’s ecomagination campaign, the engineers behind this project dreamt up a way to transform one of the oldest and most powerful forms of transportation in the planet into an energy efficient marvel. Introducing, the Hybrid Locomotive! Here is an interesting fact: According GE, a 207-ton locomotive during the course of one year is enough to power 160 households for a year. So why not capture that energy? That’s what they thought as well and what they came up with was quite ingenious.
Take a 4,400 horsepower locomotive, add lead-free rechargeable batteries (essentially a 1,000 pound molten-salt cell), and a fuel-efficient high horsepower diesel locomotive, and you end up with quite a package. Every time the engine brakes, the dynamic energy is transferred into the batteries, thus becoming an extra 2,000 horsepower that is available for use by the operator when needed. The outcome of this? A fuel consumption reduction of about 15% and an emissions cut of a whopping 50% compared to locomotives operating today.
Best part? The first one goes into operation in 2010.