NEW CASTLE, Pa. — Axion Power International said it will launch a development program with Norfolk Southern Corp. to develop a battery management system that would allow rail locomotives to operate on battery power and recharge their batteries through regenerative braking.
“Railways are the most fuel-efficient method of transporting freight, moving a ton of freight 457 miles on a single gallon of fuel,” Axion Power Chairman & CEO Thomas Granville said. “The ability to run locomotives on electricity is well-established, although the standard means of doing so to date has either been a third rail or an overhead connection – both of which require extensive and expensive infrastructure apparatus.
“Most locomotives currently operate by burning fossil fuels,” Granville said. “Utilizing Axion’s unique PbC batteries with their high level of charge acceptance and high cycle life will allow selected locomotives to operate free from diesel generator sets – and will help make Norfolk Southern trains the cleanest in North America.
“The key will be developing a battery management system that is robust, safe, dependable and easy to maintain,” Granville said. “We are highly confident, based on our ongoing work, that this system can be successfully demonstrated in a fairly short time frame. We are, of course, pleased and delighted to be working with Norfolk Southern, an industry leader and a trail-blazer in hybrid locomotives.”