LNG may be used to power heavy hauler trucks
Shell Canada and Caterpillar have signed an agreement to test a new engine and fuel mix using liquefied natural gas (LNG) that could reduce operating costs and lead to reduced emissions from oil sands mining in northern Alberta.
Caterpillar will leverage its experience with LNG in other applications, and will continue development work to design and build a fully integrated mining truck where LNG displaces most of the diesel power - also known as dual fuel. Through this agreement, Caterpillar will test the design at Shell's oil sands operations located near Fort McMurray.
In addition to the new truck Caterpillar is developing, Shell will also retrofit existing trucks from its fleet with the new engine for the trial, as well as provide fuelling infrastructure, at its Shell Albian Sands operation near Fort McMurray. This trial follows a trend for Shell in looking at options to use Canada's abundant natural gas as a fuel in marine and road transportation, and other industrial situations.
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"To succeed commercially in the future, we believe we have to be able to compete both economically and environmentally. We believe that is what Canadians want," said Shell's VP, Oil Sands, John Rhind. "With heavy hauling being such a core part of our operation, success with this could make a real difference in our operations costs and emissions."
Field testing of dual fuel powered mining trucks at Shell's oil sands operations is expected to begin in 2016, with the trial expected to last up to one year.
Shell Canada operates Muskeg River and Jackpine Mines, and the Scotford Upgrader, on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP), a joint venture between Shell Canada Energy (operator and 60 percent owner), Chevron Canada Limited (20 percent) and Marathon Oil Canada Corporation (20 percent).
"We are excited to collaborate with Shell on this latest initiative to power Cat mining trucks with Caterpillar's LNG technology," said Chris Curfman, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for Mining Sales & Support Division.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.