When you're on the right track, it helps to be out in front.
Rail operator Norfolk Southern
Until now, recent industry efforts to tweak the efficiency of rail yard locomotives have centered on GenSet technologies, which employ multiple diesel generators to match the scale of power generation to fluctuations in demand. Leading operators like Norfolk Southern, CSX
Where these tracks lead
What I find exciting about this week's prototype launch by Norfolk Southern has more to do with the future than the present. Reduced railyard emissions and related cost savings are welcome advances indeed, but this locomotive paves the way for a revolution in the efficiency of cargo-hauling technology. Significantly, Norfolk Southern's new prototype harnesses the enormous amount of kinetic energy created by the braking process, and conducts it back into the battery bank.
By the end of 2010, Norfolk Southern hopes to test a hybrid locomotive that is powered by both diesel and battery power. Recharging the batteries with the energy from braking will convert a resource now wasted into reduced fuel consumption. General Electric
Regardless of the outcome of the cap-and-trade initiative, it's clear that reducing emissions will become an ever-increasing determinant of competitiveness in all industrial sectors. This is a generational trend, and a paradigm shift that is finally taking hold worldwide.
I will take it one step further, and argue that long-term buy-and-hold investors aren't doing proper due diligence if they don't consider steps to reduce emissions when researching an industrial stock. Whether you're drawn to Peabody Energy
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Fool contributor Christopher Barker can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly in the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns shares of Peabody Energy. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy has no carbon footprint.