RHT RailHaul Technologies recently completed the design, manufacture and assembly of its first battery powered demonstration rail car.
The initial vehicle was based on a traditional side dump rail car, but RailHaul added its unique battery electric propulsion system as well as a remote operating and control system. It then used off-the-shelf components to provide elements for low cost and high reliability.
The RailHaul heavy haul rail car provides an alternative to heavy haul diesel mine trucks to save mining companies millions of dollars in haulage costs while also accelerating their progress to reduce greenhouse gasses.
“Rail based vehicles are inherently more efficient than trucking, and RailHaul is working to bring its technology not only to the mining sector but also to help improve the efficiency at ports, and to improve access to remote communities and critical resources,” the company said.
“Studies of mining clients’ haul routes have revealed potential cost savings of 30 to 40% and a reduction of CO2 emission up to 95%. This is consistent with long-term results from the conversion of urban diesel buses from diesel to battery electric.”
RailHaul has commenced operational and validation trials of its demonstration vehicle, including testing of its proprietary AC traction system. Initial results show design and performance expectations are being achieved.
Once the operational trials are completed, the initial demonstration vehicle will serve as RailHaul’s rolling platform for innovation and provide a test bed for it and its partners to apply future generation designs and technologies such as semi-autonomous control and hydrogen power systems.
“We have already seen strong interest in our approach and our technology from leading mining companies, ports, and railway operators in North America,” said President, Co-Founder and CEO Michael Price.
“This first vehicle is an important step in proving that we can deliver the performance and value we have been discussing.”
The RailHaul system is based on a self-propelled heavy haul rail vehicle, controlled remotely or semi-autonomously and operated individually or in a multiple unit combination of powered and unpowered rail cars. The vehicles are highly configurable and provide for distributed power and energy harvesting capability. This enables the vehicle to climb much steeper grades at higher speeds for added productivity than traditional rail or truck systems. The initial focus is for open-pit mining applications, ports, and remote communities where the operating duty cycles strongly benefit from RailHaul’s innovative approach.
Added Frank Donnelly, another co-founder and the CTO: “We are integrating proven components and systems in our designs, delivering low risk, high reliability, customized haulage solutions. Substantially lower capital and operating costs with dramatically lower green-house gas emissions are achievable through our RailHaul electric freight vehicle.”
Work on RailHaul’s next generation design is already in process; production is planned for mid-2023. The next vehicle will incorporate additional technologies for remote operation along with the learnings from today’s demonstration unit.
RailHaul’s commercial vehicle is planned to be available next year for demonstrations at mining sites and rail maintenance locations.
To see the RailHaul Engineering Demonstration Unit of the self-propelled, battery powered side dump ore rail car in action, visit https://youtu.be/nM7q3HLtXlk.