Central Manitoba Railway Honored for Innovative Biodiesel Solution


The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) recently announced that Central Manitoba Railway (CEMR) has been chosen as the winner of its 2012 Marketing Award. The RAC Marketing award was created to recognize shortlines for their role in accelerating and increasing the flow of goods through the rail freight supply chain and successfully improve customer service.

CEMR won the award for its innovative mobile, biodiesel, fuel-blending solution which enables its customers to precision blend traditional diesel fuel with biodiesel fuel. The solution enables fuel suppliers to meet the requirements of Manitoba’s Biofuels Act which mandates that 2% biodiesel be blended into overall sales of diesel fuel. Biodiesel is recognized by Manitoba as the most effective greenhouse gas reduction technology.

Shortly before the province’s biodiesel mandate was to take effect in 2010, the fuel industry was not yet equipped to meet the requirements. CEMR was approached by Astra, a diesel supplier, and Imperial Oil, Canada’s second largest petroleum company and Astra customer, to devise a rapid-response solution for transforming existing diesel fuel supplies into biodiesel blends in accordance with provincial regulations.

CEMR’s solution was multifaceted. On the technology front they commissioned the creation of a liquid blending and distribution unit that was capable of blending liquids at a rate of 1,200 l/min. The unit was also mobile by design so that it could be transported to any location, attached to up to four fuel sources and then used to create a blend from those sources into one final product.

Logistically, CEMR used its transportation center located 9.6 km from Imperial Oil’s facility as the blending location. CEMR transported Low Sulfur Diesel from Imperial Oil while shipping in biodiesel from the U.S. via Canadian Pacific Rail. Using only the liquid blending and distribution unit, tank cars and transloading track infrastructure, CEMR was able to mix the two fuel sources on-site without the use of expensive tanks, loading racks or piping systems, an innovative first in the blending process.

Using CEMR’s rail line, the company then transported the blended fuel back to Imperial Oil’s facility for distribution at only one of the province’s two fuel distribution terminals. The solution was so effective that over the past two years CEMR has blended all of Imperial Oil’s summer diesel.

The St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (Québec) Inc. was runner-up with its plan for a distribution center for windmill parts.

Source: Railway Association of Canada

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