Wabtec and Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) have signed amemorandum of understanding (MOU) for 150 FLXdrive battery-electric shunters and modernization work to transform the mainline fleet into NextFuel liquid natural gas-powered (LNG) locomotives. The investment marks the largest sustainable technology agreement by the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) railroad, and will further revolutionise KTZ’s mainline and yard operations, while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs.
“Since early 2000, KTZ has been the regional transportation leader in adopting state-of-the-art technologies and is honoring that legacy by pioneering the transition to a low-carbon rail network with Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery-electric technology,” said Rafael Santana, President and CEO for Wabtec. “Battery power is an ideal solution to reduce the environmental impact and costs of yard operations. Using the FLXdrive in a rail yard can significantly improve local air quality and reduce noise for neighboring communities. We are proud to partner with KTZ on this strategic investment.”
The FLXdrive shunters will be 100% battery powered with more than 1.5 megawatt hours of energy. These new shunters are a zero-emission solution for KTZ, enabling the railroad to reduce the fuel cost of its yard operations by approximately $75,000 per shunter per year. The FLXdrives also will reduce scheduled maintenance by up to 97% and avoid costly electrification investments.
To support KTZ’s mainline fleet sustainability efforts, Wabtec will provide NextFuel kits to convert the traditional diesel locomotives to LNG. Wabtec’s NextFuel LNG mainline locomotives will increase the operational range of travel by more than two-fold – from 1300 km to 3,000 km and decrease fuel costs by up to 26%.
Wabtec and KTZ also will collaborate on digital solutions for the fleet. The first digital product is Trip Optimizer, providing fuel-efficient operation modes for freight trains to reduce fuel consumption by at least 5%. Pilot testing is planned for the fourth quarter and with successful results it will be deployed on KTZ locomotives.
Wabtec will build the FLXdrives and convert the locomotives to LNG at the LKZ facility in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan. Production will begin in 2024.
Nurlan Sauranbayev – Chairman of the Management Board, National Company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy JSC and Rogerio Mendonca – President, Freight Equipment, Wabtec Corporation