Committing to the clean transformation, Aurizon on Thursday (Jan 6) said it has teamed up with the University of Queensland’s School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering to establish a rollout of the emerging hydrogen technology, as well as battery alternatives.

To do this, research for the move will include the examination of Australia’s 33,000km rail network to assess the energy and power requirements for specific rail corridors where Aurizon operates, identifying technology that will support the switch.

James Petty, Head of Asset Management and Strategy at Aurizon, has identified the thorough research process as an important foundation for delivering on the company’s goal.

“We need to define the specific energy requirements for mainline operation of our trains, and how the emerging technologies in batteries and hydrogen fuel cells can deliver that in practical terms,” Petty said.

“This collaboration will allow the University of Queensland to further develop their extensive knowledge in the battery-hydrogen space, while also providing Aurizon with key information required to help support the goals established in our 2020 Climate Strategy and Action Plan.”

Professor Paul Meehan, Locomotive Mechanics Expert from the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, added, “Together with Aurizon, this project will advance our knowledge and understanding of battery and hydrogen technology, specifically the application of these technologies in the Australian heavy haul rail industry.

“It is a unique opportunity to design new and future solutions to decarbonise a major transportation industry and reduce the impact of climate change.”

The collaboration with the University of Queensland builds on the company’s recent feasibility study with Anglo American, through which they agreed to explore the application of hydrogen fuel cell and battery hybrid power units.

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