Monday, January 23, 2006
Hybrid cars may get all the attention, but hybrid locomotives are also making inroads. The Green Goat is a hybrid switcher -- a locomotive used to shunt rail cars to different tracks in the freight yard -- made by Canadian company RailPower. Coupling a small diesel engine with a large battery bank, the locomotives are both quiet and efficient, reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 70 percent while cutting nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions by as much as 90 percent. The deep cuts in emissions reflect not only increased fuel efficiency but also the fact that, unlike conventional switchers, Green Goats do not idle between tasks. Union Pacific, the largest railroad company in America, has ordered 98 units. News of that contract has made RailPower a promising stock in the eyes of some investors.