General Electric engineers are designing a hybrid diesel-electric locomotive that will capture the energy dissipated during braking and store it in a series of sophisticated batteries. That stored energy can be used by the crew on demand, reducing fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent and emissions by as much as 50 percent compared to most of the freight locomotives in use today. In addition to environmental advantages, a hybrid will operate more efficiently in higher altitudes and up steep inclines.
The energy dissipated in braking a 207-ton locomotive during the course of one year is enough to power 160 households for that year. GE’s hybrid locomotive’s lead-free rechargeable batteries will be able to provide superior performance by allowing operators to draw on an additional 2,000 horsepower when needed.
Before the GE hybrid locomotive is offered commercially, the engineering team will continue work and analysis on the innovative lead-free rechargeable batteries and corresponding control systems on-board the locomotive. Following lab testing, GE will produce pre-production units for customer field validation purposes.