Energy-efficient trains – for the environment and customers
Not only are trains an efficient mode of transporting industrial raw materials and products but they are also environmentally friendly.
The logistics sector is strongly connected to energy consumption, which is linked to both costs and the environment. Efficient logistics and energy-efficiency go hand in hand. However, energy-efficiency requires more than just reducing fuel consumption.
Rail traffic, by its nature, is an energy-efficient mode of transport. In addition, we have committed to a further 20 per cent improvement in energy-efficiency by 2020. There are several means to live up to the environmental pledge.
Freight trains running on hydropower
From the environmental perspective, the most important issue is the quality of the energy that is being used. Most of our freight trains already run on electric energy that is generated using renewable hydropower. Other modes of transport mainly use fossil fuels.
Electricity that is generated using renewable energy causes no greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. In addition, there are no exhaust discharges that would worsen air quality.
In the last few years, we have been able to significantly increase the share of electrically driven traffic and thus increase the energy-efficiency of rail freight transport.
Larger trains in the railway network
The good energy-efficiency of rail traffic is also based on the large capacity that is available for freight transport. By further increasing the size of freight trains, we can transport more goods with fewer trains.
Promoting electrically driven traffic and increasing the size of trains also set requirements for the railway network and we are thus actively raising the issues related to the electrification of the railway infrastructure and the need to increase load-bearing capacities.
Efficiency based on good planning
Professional planning is another means that we use to improve the energy-efficiency of rail logistics. This means that we select the rolling stock that is suitable for the transport in question, take other traffic and the route’s elevation differences into account and minimise the need for breaking and acceleration.
With good planning, we can increase the share of electrically driven traffic while reducing additional work phases. This improves the total logistics efficiency.
Driving methods and rolling stock are the key
The driving method of a train driver is a key factor in energy consumption and a skilled driver can adapt the driving method to the prevailing circumstances. Drivers receive training on the most economical way of driving and we have also deployed technology that supports the driving method.
The characteristics of the rolling stock are also important. For example, with their diesel engine units, the new multi-purpose Sr3 electric locomotives can also be driven on non-electrified tracks and loading areas, with no need to change the locomotive during the transport.
Transport solutions for emerging needs
An increase in the use of bioenergy is being prepared in various parts of Finland, with new power plants based on wood-based energy sources being established. Bioenergy has significant potential for rail logistics because an increasing amount of raw material will have to be transported longer distances when biofuel plants are becoming more common. With trains, even the transport of energy is energy-efficient.