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UP's future electric locomotives

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Posted by Former Car Maintainer on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 3:19 PM

ronrunner

I think were we are going is a partial cat system were we have duel use locos that can run on wire,battery and hydrogen

 

Hydrogen tanks under extreme pressure and a match? Does hydrogen bomb come to mind?...Perhaps back to overhead wire and catenary...

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 8:46 PM

Former Car Maintainer
Hydrogen tanks under extreme pressure and a match? Does hydrogen bomb come to mind?..

I don't think they plan on using tritium.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 11:12 PM
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Posted by Jim200 on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 2:43 AM

The NTSB report demonstrates that there were problems with stranded energy and fire reignition in these Teslas with Li-ion batteries. The fire fighters can put the fire out with water and foam, but then the energy left in the damaged battery will restart the fire some hours later. Probably battery design engineers are already working on this problem. Linking the disconnection and draining of the battery energy with the actuation of the air bags could be part of the solution. 

It should be easier to protect the Li-ion batteries in a locomotive than in a car since you are not as concerned with weight and thus can protect them better. However,  lessions learned in car safety and fire need to be applied, since once in awhile locomotives do get into trouble.

Motor Trend magazine had an interesting article on Gallium Nitride, (GaN), which will soon take over the DC voltage stepping and DC to AC conversion duties in battery powered cars, now performed by Silicon and the more expensive Silicon Carbide solid state switches. GaN has less resistance and for the same current therefore has less heat. It is estimated that it could save 40% of the cooling requirements, thus saving weight and opening up more space. The Motor Trend article isn’t yet online, but you can read the SAE article below to find all the good things coming with Gallium Nitride. Eventually they will be in locomotives.

https://www.sae.org/news/2021/04/gallium-nitride-future-of-ev-chips 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 6:46 AM

MidlandMike
I don't think they plan on using tritium.

On the other hand, even lithium-7 deuteride has interesting possibilities... did reporters hear anyone say something about 'lithium' batteries? Dunce

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 7:00 AM

Jim200
you can read the SAE article below to find all the good things coming with Gallium Nitride. Eventually they will be in locomotives. https://www.sae.org/news/2021/04/gallium-nitride-future-of-ev-chips 

I'm glad to see GaN becoming more utilized in power electronics, although I wish the SAE article had given a better reason why the electron mobility is significant.  The problem I have is that the article is written by a VP of strategic marketing for a GaN semiconductor manufacturer, and reads just as one might expect coming from that source.  I for one would like to see the sourcing for gallium at the prospective increased demand combined with other prospective uses when I read that 'cost' now favors GaN FETs over equivalent switching capacity in straight SiC for something the size of an integrated hybrid locomotive consist.  Perhaps this reflects high power at higher switching frequencies?

Not that I won't embrace it as technically sweet if in fact the company can deliver reliably.

Those with an idle hour to kill will find some interesting information here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOolrEYPWzI

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 3:25 PM

Repor of Lithium battery fire.  drop your battery loco into a water stream ????

Nearly 100 Tons of Lithium Batteries Involved in Large Morris Industrial Fire – NBC Chicago

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Posted by ronrunner on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 4:30 PM

Montreal is instituting duel power diesal and overhead wire on its commuter rail system which is growing to 6 lines at last check...I assume that UP will do the same where it is most efficianr

 

 

 

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 11:34 PM

Jim200

Motor Trend magazine had an interesting article on Gallium Nitride, (GaN), which will soon take over the DC voltage stepping and DC to AC conversion duties in battery powered cars, now performed by Silicon and the more expensive Silicon Carbide solid state switches. GaN has less resistance and for the same current therefore has less heat. It is estimated that it could save 40% of the cooling requirements, thus saving weight and opening up more space. The Motor Trend article isn’t yet online, but you can read the SAE article below to find all the good things coming with Gallium Nitride. Eventually they will be in locomotives.

GaN devices ae typically limited to about 700V rating, with recommended maximum DC link voltage of 450 to 500VDC (derating to to cosmic ray induced neutrons). SiC devices are wdely available with 1700V ratings and 3300V rated parts have been in limited production for several years. Experimental SiCFET's have been made with greater than 10kV ratings, along with 20+kV GTO thyristors.

One major difference between GaN and SiC is that conduction in GaNFETs is along an essentially 2D layer on top of the die, where conduction in SiCFET's is through the bulk layer of the die as in silicon FETs. The GaNFET's are inherently higher speed devices than SiCFET's, but my impression is that SiCFET's are more amenable for larger, hence higher current, devices.

The higher speed of GaN really doesn't buy you much when reaching the megawatt levels of locomotive traction motors. The lower volatge ratings of GaN necessitates a higher current which then puts really serious constraints on stray inductance. The higher frequencies mean more of an issue with skin effect and proximity effect. OTOH, the higher frequencies are a great help when dealing with consumer electronics, note the GaN 65W USB power supplies that are the same size as the older 30W supplies.

My conclusion is that locomotive traction inverters will switch to SiC and not GaN, but there may be applications for LRV traction inverters once they get device ratings up to 900V or so.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Thursday, July 1, 2021 6:57 AM

Slightly off topic but if you're interested look up what would be the aftermath of a lithium battery powered locomotive that caught fire basically.  In Morris Illinois between 80 to 100 tons of lithium batteries went up in smoke 2 days ago.  It is still burning this morning.  This is the worst ever accident involving lithium batteries in the USA and has got people talking about how dangerous they actually are and then they discovered that they are the primary power in electric cars and in cellphones.  

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, July 1, 2021 10:44 AM

There are ways to mitigate some of the concerns with locomotive-scale integrated batteries.  A number of these involve isolation of the 'stranded power' containing cells so they can be externally monitored by first responders; I expect this to be extended to vehicle traction batteries at some point.  I also expect the crossbar architecture in the traction system to be built to facilitate discharge of stranded power even when there has been substantial mechanical damage that the normal 'armoring' and reinforcement methods did not prevent.

The airborne gases are somewhat amenable to treatment by prompt encapsulation and air fogging.  But first responders have to be carefully trained and provided with specialized equipment -- which, as I have argued, ought to be the responsibility of the electric-vehicle industry to provide as part of their necessary overhead.

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Friday, July 2, 2021 11:02 AM

Shadow the Cats owner

Slightly off topic but if you're interested look up what would be the aftermath of a lithium battery powered locomotive that caught fire basically.  In Morris Illinois between 80 to 100 tons of lithium batteries went up in smoke 2 days ago.  It is still burning this morning.  This is the worst ever accident involving lithium batteries in the USA and has got people talking about how dangerous they actually are and then they discovered that they are the primary power in electric cars and in cellphones.  

 

 

I would not say this is off topic because the subject is lithium battery-electric locomotives.

It should be clarified that this fire occurred at a site where this large number of batteries were housed -- this was not on a battery-electric locomotive of which some are being tested right now. 

A 100 tons of batteries may be more than what would be placed on a single locomotive unit of around 200 tons gross weight, but still, it gives and idea of the scale of locomotive battern.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by Erik_Mag on Friday, July 2, 2021 9:30 PM

I would think that there would be enough volume in the locomotive cab/cowl/hood to place insulating panels between individual battery packs if not between the individual cells. This would lower the risk of a fire starting in one battery (or one cell of the battery) from spreading, or in worst case, slow the spread.

There was a recent news item about a fire starting in one parked electric bus spreading to the electric buses parked next to it. Good thing that solid rocket motors used on sub launched ballistic missiles don't have thesafety record of EV batteries.

I've also read a few articles on battery constructions/chemistries that are supposed to dramatically reduce the risk of thermal runaways.

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Posted by bogie_engineer on Saturday, July 3, 2021 1:43 PM

Here's the latest Tesla to go up in flames:

https://www.rt.com/usa/528155-tesla-model-s-explosion/

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 3, 2021 3:05 PM

Was it part of the strategy to tip it on its side to spray the underneath?

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Monday, July 5, 2021 8:25 PM

Well the lithium battery storage company in Morris is finally out.  They used dry cement and sand to put it out to literally smother the fire.  I wouldn't want to be the maker of those batteries in the courtrooms here in Illinois.  Why if they've sold so much as one of their products in some counties in this state I have some advice.  Just bend way over applying lubrication and then shut your eyes as they extract the cash from your wallet in extremely large amounts.  Madison County is called the hell hole of all judicial systems in the USA.  

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Monday, July 5, 2021 11:40 PM

Shadow the Cats owner

They used dry cement and sand to put it out to literally smother the fire.

Sand is the reccommended extinguishing agent for any alkali metal fire, though CO2, N2 and Argon would probably work if sufficient quantities are available. You correct in that sand smothers the fire.

Note that sand will not work with any fire involving ClF3 (Chlorine tri-Fluoride) as sand will burn in the presence of ClF3, but then just about everything will burn in the presence of ClF3.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 10:40 AM

I don't think this was known, maybe I missed it back before the discussion of battery fires, But as a throw away line in this article: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-07-05/battery-powered-locomotives-zero-emission-train-future UP has purchased a battery powered loco for use in one of the Ca yard. No indication which model from which provider.

 

Back to battery fires. In 2019 there were 189,000 Vehicle fires in the United States. So the real question isn't do Electric vehicles catch on fire, the question is, what is the rate of fires compared to ICE vehicles. That Battery fires require different techniques to put out is important and it will be a challenge as Fire Departments learn and deploy the right tools. But that's their job. It's what they do.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 2:38 PM

YoHo1975
UP has purchased a battery powered loco for use in one of the Ca yard. No indication which model from which provider.

This is more interesting than it looks.  Back on April 6th, the BLE&T reported on what might be this purchase and mentioned specifically that this was a battery hybrid -- it has a powerplant that 'onboard-charges' the batteries.  But despite going into a digression on the original Green Goat, the story says nothing about the actual provider of the miracle locomotive.

Hybrid rules out Joule.

Now the LA Times story, despite going into great detail on the Wabtec consist with FLXdrive, pointedly does not mention the manufacturer of UP's switcher, though it happily identifies Pacific Harbor as a Progress (read EMD, read Joule) customer.

No amount of digging I could do since I read the post has revealed who the supplier is.  I thought perhaps RPS in Fullerton, as they are a California manufacturer with a finger in several pies involving Southern California 'optimized' operation -- but no mention of it in the usual places.

I'm apparently not the only one perplexed: Tom Mack put out a call for information on LocoNotes about an hour ago.  If any community is likely to know the correct detail on this, they'd be the one.

Battery fires require different techniques to put out is important and it will be a challenge as Fire Departments learn and deploy the right tools. But that's their job. It's what they do.

I thought it was interesting that some of the stories on the recent Tesla Plaid fire indicated that the first responders had had specific training on how to address fires in BEVs.  A piece of circumstantial evidence is that at least one picture of the burning car shows it tipped up on its side, perhaps to allow cooling water to be sprayed on the bottom pan of the vehicle where the battery lives, while the 'aftermath' pictures show it on its wheels again.  As I don't know yet whether the 'explosion' when the car stopped rolling might have thrown it on its side, I reserve comment -- but it looks as if the lessons of the 28,000-gallon fiasco have become better known and understood.

Blanketing and encapsulation can be as much to retain and passivate the toxic components of the 'smoke' as to put out the actual chemical flame or contain the effects of stranded-electricity reignition.  I was expecting to see definitive policies on standardizing 'release of stranded storage' after catastrophic damage in various battery implementations long before now -- they have been a standard part of my designing since the 1980s.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 5:18 PM

In fact it was the query on Loconotes that caused me to post here since I came here to look back and see if it had been mentioned.

 

 

the City of Chicago, sweet home though it once was for me, can get in a snit. It's the same snit they'd get in if one of the refineries in Gary experienced a major incident. And frankly I'd be more worried about that than a massive battery fire, but, you know people are really really bad at judging risk properly. 

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 5:36 PM

I live near Chicago and also Gary and actually closer to Joliet.  I'm well aware of all the chemical and refinery plants in this area most of which are customers who we serve.  Most fire departments are well aware of how to deal with chemical fires.  But with lithium batteries their self generating their oxygen and get hyper active when they get wet.  

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 12:30 PM

This poster has major worry about Lithium batteries. They have caused 2 complete aircraft destroyed UPS at PHL  and Fed EX at Weschester airport.  A third was the battery fire at BOS logan field.  My personal experience was a tool power pack that got hot last time used it and thankfully took it outside and almost put it in a bucket of water.  Now I know better. That Battery then would not take a charge.  Home center exchanged it ar no charge.

Many years ago various aircraft used led acid batteries.  Then FAA required modifications and to use NiCad batteries.  NiCADs periodically had to removed and be deep discharged and installed in whatever aircraft had  theirs removed.  As far as I know the NiCAD have not been changed to LiION but newer Aircraft have the LiION at construction.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 7:41 PM

Bluestreak read up on the 787 dreamliner and the problem they had with the lithium ion batteries used in it during it's introductory service.  It literally had to be removed from service while the whole battery mounting system was redone including the fire suppression system and venting system for it in case it did catch fire in the air.  

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:33 PM

Shadow thanks for the tip.  Had not heard that but know why.  Your description sounds very likely.  Wonder what the STC will show ? I know of no NICAD or lead acid aircraft that had any of the fire suppression systems that LiIon require.~!.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:53 PM

Streak:

Keep in mind there are lithium batteries are not all alike. Li-ion is used in BEV's because it has a very high specific energy (w-hrs/lb), but has the problem of thermal runaway under a variety of circumstances. The Progress Rail locomotives use Lithium-Iron-Phosphate as it has a higher specific power (w/lb), but lower specific energy. It also is much less susceptible to thermal runaway and the batteries have a much longer usable lifetime.

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Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 12:15 PM

Heard all the added protection negated the weight benefits from the NiCads on the 777

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Posted by Former Car Maintainer on Thursday, August 26, 2021 9:05 PM

rdamon

Heard all the added protection negated the weight benefits from the NiCads on the 777

 

7Mw cargo ship. How long is the charging time? https://news.yahoo.com/yara-birkeland-autonomous-electric-cargo-ship-launch-date-211945689.html

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