CN is On Track for Tomorrow, Today
CN’s commitment to sustainability is changing the course of the future
Headquarters: Montreal, Quebec
Canada’s largest railway
18,600 route miles of track
Transports goods across Canada and Mid-America, connecting ports on three coasts – the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico
Canadian National Railway Company (CN) is a leading North American transportation logistics company, moving more than $250 billion (CAD) of goods every year. With a tri-coastal network that spans Canada from east to west, south through the Midwest
and to the Gulf of Mexico, CN's network is expansive — because it’s so critically important to the global economy.
“If you eat it, have it in your house, if you touch it … chances are, we moved it,” says François Bélanger, CN’s senior director of sustainability. “So, the food we eat, the wood that builds our homes, the cars
we drive and everything in between — CN gets it to us."
Our unique agility in the market enables us to sell and distribute our product in multiple ways to meet our customers’ supply chain needs and help them work toward their lower carbon targets. See how Chevron Renewable Energy Group is equipped to get fuel to your company as quickly and safely as possible.
See How We Help With Seamless Integration
Moving Goods Responsibly
On average, trains are four times more fuel efficient than trucks. That means that by moving long-haul freight by rail, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be reduced by up to 75%. And CN has made bold goals around sustainability to reach a 43% reduction
in carbon emission intensity by 2030 compared to a 2019 baseline — as well as committing to setting a 2050 net zero target (in line with a 1.5-degree Celsius scenario).
CN already has taken steps to make these goals a reality. It was the first North American railroad to:
- Set an approved science-based target for reducing GHG emissions
- Provide shareholders a vote on a climate action plan
- Implement a cold-weather test with biofuels to evaluate long-term performance on locomotives
"Sustainability is at the center of how we do business,” Bélanger says. “Our objective is to accelerate sustainable growth for our customers, our shareholders and the communities in which we operate.”
Putting Sustainability to the Test with Chevron Renewable Energy Group
CN is committed to improving locomotive operating efficiencies to reduce its carbon footprint. As an industry leader in sustainability, the company is determined to make a difference in its carbon reduction while also keeping current locomotives operating.
“In order to advance our sustainability efforts, we need to test high level blends of biodiesel and renewable diesel,” says Dilani Abeywickrama, a mechanical engineering manager with CN. “It’s important for us to test blends of 100% renewable fuel consisting of biodiesel and renewable diesel so we can learn about these solutions and use them in our fleet.”
The test began in the winter of 2022, when CN transitioned a fleet of locomotives to run exclusively on fuel blends produced by Chevron Renewable Energy Group. CN purposely chose its location in Greenville, Pennsylvania to kick off the two-year-long test, to better evaluate how renewable fuels perform in cold weather climates over time. Through a close partnership with Progress Rail — a Caterpillar company and one of the largest manufacturers of freight locomotives worldwide — the testing by CN and Chevron Renewable Energy Group is a breakthrough for the companies’ shared sustainability goals.
“We have completed the first year of testing on the Bessemer and Lake Erie portion of our network, located in Pennsylvania, and it is already a success. We have been able to test different blends of biodiesel and renewable diesel without having any impact on our customers’ traffic, including during cold weather operations. Over the next year, we will continue to closely monitor the impact of these tests on the locomotives, in collaboration with our partners, and all results will be compiled at the end of the project. This will help us better understand the implications of using renewable biofuels across our network,” says Bélanger.
“We’ve done lab testing and now long-term testing to see how these blended fuels affect our hardware,” says Bill Clark, project manager for Progress Rail. “We need to see what this data tells us. Chevron Renewable Energy Group has shown CN that they
understand the technology and blending, and we’re excited to see how it performs in our locomotives.”
As Chevron Renewable Energy Group's newest high-quality biodiesel fuel, PuriDTM is running a fleet of CN locomotives in the first locomotive real-winter trial of this product.
Benefits of PuriDTM include:
+ Excellent combustion and lubricity
+ Low particulate matter
+ Ability to blend seamlessly with renewable diesel in year-round applications
Rolling Toward a Lower Carbon Future, Now
The transition to 100% renewable fuel levels has been seamless for CN and its customers since initial testing began. Bélanger says prior concerns about cold-weather operations have not been experienced so far, with trains running at full
capacity with no issues.
“What’s most important is that we made this adjustment without any impact to our operations or to our customers,” Bélanger says.
“The high-percentage biodiesel and renewable diesel blend testing, in close collaboration with CN, is furthering the conviction of the role of biofuels as an immediate lower carbon solution that can be implemented with minimal impact to infrastructure or operations,” says Todd Ellis, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Chevron Renewable Energy Group
CN’s willingness to initiate its first long-term test of biodiesel and renewable diesel in the middle of winter demonstrates its confidence in Chevron Renewable Energy Group’s solutions, too. The test marks the first where 100% renewable fuel is being used in locomotives in the U.S. It also serves as an example to other companies that strive to achieve sustainability goals but aren’t quite ready to take the leap. For the last 25 years, Chevron Renewable Energy Group has worked to produce some of the highest quality
renewable fuels in the world — but it takes leaders like CN and Progress Rail to step up.
“This initiative demonstrates once again that CN is committed to playing a key role in the transition to a low-carbon economy and the importance of collaboration. The partnership between CN, a locomotive manufacturer and a biofuel producer is a clear signal that the rail industry is working together to lower carbon intensity of our supply chain,” says Bélanger.
“We know what our fuel is capable of, and we’ve been working for many years to make sure our fuels work well in any condition,” says Dave Slade, chief technologist with Chevron Renewable Energy Group. “For CN to come to us and trust us to do their first trial and really be out in front of everybody else tells us how serious they are in making these steps toward our collective sustainability goals.”
Download Case Study
Sign up to receive an email series on how our agility helps our customers ease into the transition with lower carbon fuel solutions.