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New process promises to reduce oilsands’ energy and water use

Natural Resources Canada reports in its Heads UP CIPEC Newsletter that they are working on new technology for the oil sands industry that will significantly reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions.


Natural Resources Canada reports in its Heads UP CIPEC Newsletter that they are working on new technology for the oil sands industry that will significantly reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is between CanmetENERGY’s Ottawa Research Centre and Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), a collaboration of 14 oil sands producers.

The newsletter says: “The technology represents a new method of producing steam for heavy oil extraction whereby the flue gas stream can be pumped underground, at which point CO2 can be sequestered. Not only are there energy savings associated with this manner of producing steam but atmospheric CO2 emissions are diverted. Hence the technology could allow CO2 emissions to be reduced in absolute terms and not merely in terms of emissions intensity. This would be transformative with respect to the carbon intensity of oil sands derived fuels.

A future pilot plant will use process water with high solids and hydrocarbon contamination direclty fired with natural gas.

Bruce Clements, Research Scientist, Combustion Technologies, CanmetENERGY in Bells Corners, Ottawa, Ontario, notes that the process could also produce an inert vitreous slag byproduct that could be used by the construction industry.

To read the full article in Heads Up CIPEC Newsletter, May 2013, click here.