Transportation / Mobility

February 1, 2009


JR Freight Developing Japan's First Hybrid 'Switcher' Locomotives

Keywords: Non-manufacturing industry Renewable Energy Transportation / Mobility 

Japan Freight Railway Co. (JR Freight) announced on September 10, 2008, that it is developing a new hybrid switcher (a small locomotive used to assemble and disassemble strings of freight cars in railyards). The new model will be equipped with a diesel-hybrid system that uses high-performance battery technology, making it the first diesel-electric hybrid locomotive in Japan.

The new hybrid model will replace the 117 model DE10 diesel engine locomotives currently in use, which need replacing due to their advanced average age of 34 years. The company said the new model would produce 30 to 40 percent less exhaust gas emissions and a noise level more than ten decibels quieter than old models. It plans to complete the development of the prototype by the end of fiscal 2009.

The conventional locomotives the company uses are each powered by a large diesel engine that transmits about 1,000 kilowatts of power to the propulsion wheels via fluid transmission. The new model will be powered by a drive system consisting of small diesel engine of about 250 kilowatts, a generator, and a large-capacity storage battery. This system will drive the main motor to turn the switcher's wheels. JR Freight is considering adopting this hybrid system for its main line diesel or electric locomotives.

- Japan Freight Railway Company official website
- New Motor-Assisted Hybrid Power System for Trains Reduces Emissions and Costs (Related JFS article)

Posted: 2009/02/01 06:00:15 AM