Wednesday 6 December 2023

UIC/KTZ ASIA-PACIFIC WORKSHOP on “Switching to low-carbon traction energy” held on 29 November

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The workshop was jointly organised by Joint stock company “National Company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy” (NC KTZ JSC) and the International Union of Railways (UIC). 85 connections were online during this event and the workshop was open to all UIC regions.

The speakers were representatives of various transport companies (UIC members and partners) from Australia, Korea, Germany, China, Malaysia, France and Kazakhstan.

Sandeep Jain, economic affairs expert at the transport division of the United Nations – ESCAP, delivered a keynote speech on the decarbonisation of railway transport in the Asia-Pacific region.

The workshop was organised into three sessions:

Session 1 on “Decarbonisation initiatives in the transport sector” was presented by the Chief Engineer of NC KTZ JSC, Batyr Kotyrev. He noted that from 2013 to 2022 the company had seen a trend of reducing direct CO2 emissions by 16%, and that indicators of increasing the energy efficiency of the transportation process had improved by more than 20%.

It was noted that in December 2022, the “Low-carbon development concept” was approved at NC KTZ JSC. The company was currently working on developing alternative forms of energy for rail transport.

UIC Head of Sustainability and North America Coordinator, Lucie Anderton, introduced the key Actions of Sustainability platform. These actions include providing practical solutions to sustainability challenges for future railways and initiatives for the implementation of low-carbon fuels in rail. The importance of sharing best practices was highlighted.

Session 2 covered the discussions on “Low-carbon fuels implementation in APRA” and included the following topics:

  • Representing China, Xining Li, Vice President/Chief Engineer of CRRC Ziyang Co, Ltd, addressed the topic of research development and the application of high-power new energy locomotives.
  • Representing Kazakhstan, Professor B. B. Zhardemov, General Director of LLP Research Centre for Complex Problems, explained the prospect of using alternative fuels in train traction.
  • Representing Australia, Professor (Practice) and Director of Monash Institute of Railway Technology, Ravi Ravitharan, shared the results of developments in decarbonisation in transport using alternative/recycled materials.
  • Representing Malaysia, Mohamed Suhaimi Yaacob, CCO KTMB, presented the challenges of adapting decarbonisation for railways within the ASEAN context.

Session 3 was dedicated to “International experiences and advanced research for Asia-Pacific”. Green technology solutions and modern solutions for advanced rolling stock operation were presented by the partners B. Jumanov, Project Manager at Wabtec Corporation, and Torsten Thieme, Director of ThiemeBieg & Associates
UIC research studies for 2024 in the field of saving energies and reducing carbon footprint were presented by Laurent Fréchède, Head of Energy.

Five projects are planned for 2024:

  • Eco Engines: replacement of diesel fuel in rolling stock engines;
  • Use of batteries for non or partially electrified lines (battery multiple unit);
  • Eco Energy: reduction of energy consumption and costs using new technologies or migration of electrification systems;
  • Assets Lifecycle (substations and overhead contact lines); and
  • Predictive Maintenance (overhead contact lines (OCL) and substations).
    Participants highlighted initiatives for the introduction of alternative fuels on the railway, the use of battery-powered locomotives, and modern solutions for the expanded operation of rolling stock.

According to the results of a survey among participants, 94% believe that when switching to alternative types of traction, the most promising are hybrid technologies, i.e. combination of diesel engine with battery traction.

The workshop was chaired by the Master of Ceremony, Philippe Lorand, Asia-Pacific Coordinator at UIC, and assisted by Irina Petrunina, UIC CIS representative.

The Asia-Pacific region regularly organises workshops to provide insights into specific technical areas and to share expertise and experiences in rail development and operations.

In October 2023, a UIC-KTMB workshop on Safety and Seamless Connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region took place in Kuala Lumpur.

For further information, please contact Philippe Lorand at

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