(RTTNews) - Wabtec Corp. (WAB), a transportation solutions provider, announced Tuesday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding or MOU worth $600 million with regional transportation company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy or KTZ for 150 FLXdrive battery-electric shunters. The MOU also includes modernization work to transform the mainline fleet into NextFuel liquid natural gas-powered (LNG) locomotives.
Wabtec said it will build the FLXdrives and convert the locomotives to LNG at the LKZ facility in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan. Production will begin in 2024.
The investment is expected to further revolutionize KTZ's mainline and yard operations, while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs.
The company said the FLXdrive shunters will be 100 percent battery powered with more than 1.5 megawatt hours of energy. These new shunters are a zero-emission solution for KTZ, with which it could reduce the fuel cost of its yard operations by around $75,000 per shunter per year.
The FLXdrives also will reduce scheduled maintenance by up to 97 percent and avoid costly electrification investments.
Under the deal, 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 and decrease fuel costs by up to 26 percent.
The companies 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 percent. Pilot testing is planned for the fourth quarter, and with successful results, it will be deployed on KTZ locomotives.
Rafael Santana, President and CEO for Wabtec, said, "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."
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