From: University of Calgary
Published September 13, 2017 08:01 AM

Pipeline pain relief on horizon with spill-resistant bitumen

Ian Gates describes each pebble of bitumen as resembling a liquid-filled headache capsule and, for an Alberta struggling to build pipelines, this tiny package could spell pain relief indeed.

Freshly patented and weeks away from pilot-scale production, the professor’s revolutionary heavy oil and bitumen pellets may finally provide a pipeline-free solution to getting Alberta’s largest oil reserves to market in a cheap, sustainable manner, while vastly reducing the environmental risk of transportation.

“There are only so many pipelines but there are rail tracks everywhere, and anywhere rail goes, so can these pellets,” explains Gates, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering.

“Pipelines are finite and go to finite spots. Railcars go to virtually every port on every coast.”


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Photo via University of Calgary.

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