MONTREAL – Canadian National Railway is testing the commercial viability of shipping dry pellets of heavy crude by rail, a process it says lessens environmental risk and could unlock offshore markets for the country’s energy producers.
Earlier this year CN (TSX:CNR) unveiled the technology, called CanaPux, which turns bitumen into a semi-solid for transportation by mixing and coating it with polymer.
The railway says CanaPux meets rigorous strength requirements for bulk transport, float in water and do not leak or dissolve — presenting minimal risk of contamination to oceans, lakes and rivers.
CN has selected Calgary-headquartered Toyo Engineering Canada Ltd. to design and build the pilot project to produce CanaPux pellets.
As part of the pilot, Toyo will create equipment that can solidify and re-liquefy up to 1,000 barrels of bitumen per day.
CN says it is creating a presentation centre where interested parties can see the equipment and how the CanaPux pellets process would work from origin in Alberta to potential customer destinations in markets around the world.