FT. MCMURRAY, Alberta – Alberta’s most dangerous highway may be getting a new makeover if Enkarma Energy has its way. In addition to twinning or tripling the highway, Enkarma has completed an in-house study to determine the feasibility of heating Highway 63 from Edmonton to Ft. McMurray with an in-ground, natural gas fired heating system.
The study determined that a series of 6-inch pipeline style burners installed beneath the highway, one line under each lane of traffic, would keep the pavement free of ice and snow, and provide the traction needed to make sure safe travel is possible year round.
The pipeline would also burn a massive amount of natural gas, which would help bring the price of natural gas back to economic levels for the gas-focused Enkarma Energy.
The heat generated form this burner style heating system would be perfect for this highway. It would make everyone traveling to the Mac safer, and of course, it helps the bottom line for gas producers in Canada. – Frecht Dservan, media spokesman at Enkarma
The cost of the line installation would vary on the number of lanes being completed in the future, but an estimated $50 million per lane of traffic was quoted during a proposal hearing in Edmonton last week. Although Alison Redford is not committed to heating the highway, Thomas Lukaszuk is optimistic he can get Alison to come around.
I think once Alison realizes the benefits of this project, and how it would allow Alberta to control natural gas storage volumes, and in effect, gas commodity prices, she’ll come around. After all, she has always been a big fan of hot air! – Lukaszuk to 2P News reporter, Rodecker Smith
The study not only dealt with safety issues along the highway, but also the ability to burn off excess gas during the summer months to keep the price of gas a little higher than usual. The study showed that by running the heating tubes on low for the 6 months of spring and summer, industry in Canada could see sales growth and profits 5-8 times greater than the last 10 years.
Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are already joining forces to battle to proposal, claiming that burning the gas for something this audacious is an environmental disaster. But the team at Enkarma is holding firm that its gas heating project is no worse than coal power or diesel truck emissions. While Enkarma claims that the emissions from the heating project will be on par with average gas burning utilities, the company made a statement during its presentation that a greenhouse gas sequestering technology could be engineered to capture any damaging emissions as they were created by the burner tubes.