United States Steel Corporation has converted two of its diesel-electric switcher locomotives at the Mon Valley Works Edgar Thomson and Clairton Plants to battery-electric. Innovative Rail Technologies (IRT), a provider of customized lithium-ion propulsion systems to the locomotive market, built the units. U.S. Steel invested more than $2.3 million in the project. A partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offset the remaining cost.
The locomotives, which operate within the facilities carrying steel, coke, scrap metal, iron ore and other production materials, are expected to reduce airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions by 0.385 tons annually, the equivalent emissions of 7,000 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles. U.S. Steel said conversion to battery-powered locomotives will reduce the amount of diesel fuel consumed at the facilities by 40,000 gallons annually “and demonstrate the company’s use of emerging technology to help reach the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.”
U. S. Steel partnered with the DEP to utilize the agency’s Driving PA Forward – Marine and Rail Freight Movers Grant Program to offset the cost. The program “improves air quality in Pennsylvania through the transformation from older diesel engines to cleaner technologies to help the state meet its diesel emissions reduction goals.”
“Mon Valley Works is the first industrial site to deploy this technology to reduce small particulate matter emissions from its locomotive fleet,” said Scott Buckiso, Senior Vice President and Chief Manufacturing Officer, U. S. Steel. “Advancing our Best for All® strategy means producing solutions that benefit our customers and communities, people and planet. This includes investing in technological advancements at our facilities.”
“We are proud to bring this innovative and sustainable technology to U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works,” said Ira Dorfman, Principal, IRT. “Battery propulsion technology is already in use throughout many modes of transportation, and rail transportation is the next step.”