What a trip on the Amtrak Empire Builder can teach you!

The Empire Builder

The Empire Builder

On a recent train trip from Fargo to Chicago, I ran into Professor Bradley Layton of the Department of Applied Computing and Engineering Technology at Missoula College, University of Montana. I couldn’t help overhearing a phone conversation he had in the wagon where I was seated and I was pleasantly surprised when I overheard the topics of natural gas, renewable energy, carbon-free fuel sources, solar and wind energy being discussed. Later while walking through the train car, I stopped Professor Layton and had the opportunity to meet with him for nearly 30 minutes while our train moved along early in the early morning next to the beautiful Mississippi river.

Natural gas, being an alternative to traditional transportation fuels, can help us greatly along the path towards cleaner air and our addiction to oil. Amtrak could also benefit from using inexpensive Compressed Natural Gas for its locomotives, making its engines cleaner and more quiet, something our partner company Rail Propulsion Systems is developing. We had much to share about each our respective areas of work.  After the meeting I received a paper by email Professor Layton wrote already in 2008. The content was very concentrated and extremely useful for anyone working with energy on all levels. Professor Layton’s paper is publicly available and I’ve decided to provide the link for the benefit of our customers and friends in the industry. A COMPARISON OF ENERGY DENSITIES OF PREVALENT ENERGY SOURCES IN UNITS OF JOULES PER CUBIC METER.

Ideally, this form of concentrated subject learning should be introduced already in high schools and colleges throughout the nation, thereby helping our new generations getting a better understanding of energy contents and usage. Having knowledge of this also helps with the understanding of the many environmental challenges we may experience in the near future and how to prevent them from happening.

The Germans have a good saying “Wer nichts weiss, muss alles glauben” meaning “Who doesn’t know, must believe everything”.  Science is the only remedy for this problem and can prevent so many cases of arguments from the point of ignorance.

Enjoy reading Professor Layton’s paper.

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