In Belgium, rails produced using environmentally friendly technologies will be utilized

The new rail production technology reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 70%, according to the railway portal Railway Supply, citing Railway Gazette.

Infrabel, the railway infrastructure operator in Belgium, is transitioning to the use of rails manufactured with more environmentally friendly technologies.

Infrabel plans to install 450-500 km of new rails annually for repair or new construction projects. UIC 60E1 rails are used on main lines, while 50E1 rails are used on secondary lines.

Following a tender process, Infrabel signed a contract worth 200 million euros with Saarstahl Rail for the supply of 2,800 km of rails over a period of four years. Of the total supply, 65% will be 60E1 rails, with the remaining 35% being 50E1 rails.

Under this contract, Infrabel received the first batch of rails (900 tons) on May 17, 2023, which were produced with a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

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These rails are manufactured at the rail rolling mill in Ecaillon, located in northern France. The mill came under the ownership of the German group SHS-Stahl-Holding-Saar and its subsidiary Saarstahl Rail in August 2021.

The rail steel is produced in an electric arc furnace using scrap metal at the Saarstahl Arcoval plant near Valenciennes.

The new development ensures the production of rails with the same metallurgical qualities as the conventional method of steel production from iron ore and coke, but with a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

This achievement is also facilitated by the use of electricity generated by a nuclear power plant. Over the course of four years, this will lead to a reduction in emissions of up to 224,000 tons, equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of 9,000 average households.

The Ecaillon plant delivered 262,000 tons of rails in 2022, of which 227,000 tons were produced using scrap metal from both their own sources and external suppliers.

The facility is capable of supplying rails up to 108 meters in length, while Infrabel’s base in Schaarbeek can weld rails up to 100 meters long into 300-meter lengths.

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