As a resource-based country (with Ontario as its manufacturing hub) we must rethink how we get our goods to market. Industry is waking up to the possibilities of future-forward energy sources over industrial-age fuels like coal and diesel.
That’s why Canadian National Railway (CN) is re-engineering two 3000-horsepower locomotives to run on liquefied natural gas. The route is a difficult, rolling terrain with significantly high-tonnage runs between Edmonton and Fort McMurray – a worthy test of the fuel’s viability.
For CN, the results of this trial are of great interest. It means a reduction in greenhouse gas; including 30 per cent lower carbon dioxide and 70 per cent lower nitrogen oxide compared with conventional diesel-burning locomotives. In addition, the move to liquid natural gas will equate to a reduction in fuel costs for CN.
Randy Meyer, an executive with energy transportation company, Altex Energy Ltd. commented that if CN can make it work they, “will revolutionize the cost of rail, and actually create a significant new market for natural gas.” In fact, U.S. railway companies like BNSF, Union Pacific Corp and Norfolk Southern are already looking into natural-gas locomotives. Seems like the rail industry is coming on board for clean, affordable and reliable energy.
So grows the list of industries exploring the use of natural gas as an energy of the future. In addition to being gentle on the environment, the price of natural gas is predicted to remain low for years to come due to abundant North American supply. And that’s an attractive prospect to companies with expensive fuel costs.
What other modes of transportation should make the “switch” to clean and affordable natural gas over conventional fuels? Let us know what you think in the comments below.