United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel), a leading steel producer, has transitioned two diesel switcher locomotives, previously used at the Mon Valley Works' Edgar Thomson and Clairton Plants, into state-of-the-art battery-operated locomotives. The transition to battery-powered locomotives is expected to decrease the diesel fuel consumption at these facilities by 40,000 gallons annually.
Manufactured by Innovative Rail Technologies (IRT), a company that specializes in customized lithium-ion propulsion solutions for the locomotive market, the battery-powered locomotives represent a pioneering effort by U.S. Steel to embrace green technologies and reduce its carbon footprint. The company invested more than $2.3 million in this sustainability initiative, with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) covering the remaining costs through a partnership.
The battery-powered locomotives are designed to transport essential materials such as steel, coke, scrap metal, and iron ore within the company's facilities. By making this transition, U.S. Steel anticipates a significant reduction in airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions of approximately 0.385 tonnes. This reduction is equivalent to the emissions from 7,000 gasoline-powered passenger cars.
Ira Dorfman, Principal of IRT, expressed pride in bringing this eco-friendly technology to U.S. Steel's Mon Valley Works. He stated: “Battery propulsion technology is already in use throughout many modes of transportation, and rail transportation is the next step.”