This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Net-Zero Carbon Summit.
FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Railroads tracking a net-zero future
DETAILS: Because of the inherent efficiencies of shipping by rail, railroads have built-in advantages when it comes to cutting emissions. In this fireside chat, Wabtec Chief Technology Officer Eric Gebhardt discusses how the rail sector is powering up that advantage using battery-electric locomotives, hydrogen fuel cells and public-sector partnerships.
SPEAKER: Eric Gebhardt, chief technology officer, Wabtec
BIO: A respected technologist with more than 30 years of experience, Gebhardt is responsible for Wabtec’s global technology and investment strategy, new product development, and global engineering organization. He is the former managing director of KCK-US, an investment firm focused on the energy, life science and industrial sectors. Gebhardt spent nearly 30 years with General Electric in a variety of global engineering and leadership roles, where he was responsible for driving the strategic direction for product and portfolio development.
KEY QUOTES FROM ERIC GEBHARDT:
“Because of the railroads’ ability to move freight quickly and economically, shifting traffic to rail and decarbonizing it at the same time provides a great opportunity to decarbonize the entire freight system.”
“The challenge around the hydrogen ecosystem is making it cost-effective. You have to bring the cost down to where it’s equivalent to diesel power, make sure there’s availability, and the charging infrastructure has to come along as part of it.”
“We think [President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan] is a step in the right direction. [Railroads can use this for public-private partnerships — pull in national laboratories, pull in academia and other industrial companies to build this out.”