Innovation in the Oil Sands: Path to a Sustainable Future

At COSIA, we’re a catalyst for creating better environmental outcomes in the oil sands.

At COSIA, we’re a catalyst for creating better environmental outcomes in the oil sands. Since 2012, our members have invested $1.4 billion to develop 1,026 technologies that are helping to improve their environmental performance. In fact, the Canadian oil and gas sector is by far the largest spender on clean technology in Canada, accounting for 75 percent of the $1.4 billion spent annually, according to a study from Global Advantage Consulting Group Inc. 

Take a look at some of the innovation that our members are especially proud of. Check out the latest edition of our Project Portfolio for more details. 

Forest Restoration: 360 Virtual Tours and Silviculture Toolkit
This online library of forest restoration techniques and science was created as a go-to location for practitioners working in forest reforestation. Showcasing a suite of guided, 360-degree virtual tours with pictures and commentary, and presented with a series of videos, fact sheets and guidebooks, it will help lead to better outcomes for boreal forest reclamation. 
Early Successional Wildlife Dynamics program
A detailed, ongoing five-year, multi-species surveying and sampling program is assessing the return and re-establishment of wildlife on reclamation areas. Wildlife cameras are deployed throughout each lease to track the presence and distribution of medium and large-sized mammals, while autonomous passive recording devices are used for bats, amphibians and some species of birds.

Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells
A fuel cell converts chemical energy from a fuel into heat and electricity through an electrochemical process that uses carbon dioxide. Molten carbonate fuel cells can be used to capture carbon dioxide to generate clean energy electricity. This technology has the potential to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of in situ (in place) steam generation facilities in the oil sands.

Vacuum Insulated Tubing (VIT)
Vacuum insulated tubing consists of two strings of concentric tubing. The air between the tubing is removed, creating a vacuum layer that is difficult for heat to move across. Reducing steam heat loss while maintaining quality saves energy, reduces water consumption and shortens the steam cycle, all of which reduce the impacts to the environment.

Water Technology Development Centre
This dedicated test facility overcomes the many barriers of conducting field tests at commercial production facilities. The large-scale, live-process fluid lab enables operators to prototype and “test drive” more technologies than each could on their own, while sharing knowledge, risks and costs. The centre provides an enhanced ability to develop and implement new water treatment technologies.

Lake Miwasin Permanent Aquatic Storage Structure (PASS)
Lake Miwasin is a scaled-down demonstration of Suncor’s commercial-scale pit lake with an inline tailings treatment process (PASS) that enables more rapid reclamation of treated fluid tailings into a freshwater lake environment. The PASS process also enables integration of the lake into the surrounding watershed and mitigation of potential adverse environmental effects.

Pressure Filtration for Fluid Fine Tailings Treatment
The goal of this project is to accelerate tailings and land reclamation. The technology mechanically presses water out of fine clay materials to form a dense clay-like cake suitable for transport to a reclamation area. The recently completed project was a commercial-scale demonstration study that built on the success of the previous laboratory-scale test results.

Read more about these projects in our latest Project Portfolio

Find out more about the work underway to improve environmental performance in LandTailingsWater and GHG

If you’re an innovator, check out our innovation opportunities

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