Canadian Manufacturing

Feds invest $1M in research to improve bitumen extraction

InLine Dewatering Ltd.'s research looking to reduce water, energy use during bitumen extraction in oilsands

EDMONTON—The federal government is investing $1 million in an Alberta-based project that will research ways to reduce water and energy use during bitumen extraction in the oilsands.

Announced by local MP Tim Uppal and Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford, the investment under the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII), the funding will support the InLine Dewatering Ltd.’s oilsands tailings research and development project.

The study aims to examine the company’s methods to recycle heated extraction water, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from tailings ponds and reduce the volume of tailings produced.

“Our government is positioning Canada as a global leader in the clean technology sector by supporting innovative projects aimed at producing and using energy in cleaner and more efficient ways,” Uppal said in a statement.

“The research and development generated by projects, such as the Inline Dewatering … project, will create good jobs while benefiting the environment.”

Richard Nelson, senior director of oilsands tailings at Alberta Innovates-Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES), took it a step further and said the province needs “revolutionary tailings technology” in order to accelerate reclamation efforts.

“We are excited to be supporting this novel dewatering technology that has the potential to both reduce the number and size of tailings ponds and enhance the recycle of hot process affected water back to the extraction process,” he said.

“These attributes will ultimately minimize the overall environmental footprint associated with tailings as well as reduce the GHG intensity of bitumen production.”

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