Combined Direct Contact Steam Generation and Non‐Aqueous Extraction Demonstration Project

Lead Proponent:   Suncor Energy Oil Sands Limited Partnership
Location:  Alberta, Canada
OGCT Contribution: $ 7.8 M
Project Total: $ 24.7 M
Strategic Area:  Oil Sands

Project Objectives:

The project, composed of Direct Contact Steam Generation (DCSG) (Project A) and Non‐Aqueous Extraction (NAE) Demonstration (Project B) supports the federal government’s objectives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve environmental performance of the oil sands operations in Alberta and the broader Canadian oil sector. 

Project A will demonstrate the technical capability of the DCSG technology through continuous operation at the field scale. DCSG is considered a viable alternative to the Once-Through Steam Generator technology currently used to make steam for the in-situ steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) bitumen extraction.  Given there are no boiler tubes in the proposed DCSG technology to generate steam, scaling and fouling are minimized. This will also allow water treatment to be reduced drastically altering the footprint, complexity, and cost structure of a SAGD production facility. Carbon sequestration opportunities will also be explored in this project.

Project B will develop a non-aqueous extraction process (i.e. use of solvent rather than water) as an alternative technology for recovering bitumen from mined oil sands ore. The NAE technology could potentially replace the current hot water process used in the oil sands industry.  The project will validate the environmental and cost benefits for the development of the commercial demonstration plant. It will be used for processing high fines ore that is currently being stockpiled from mining operations and for future deployment on new oil sands leases.

Expected Results:

The anticipated benefits to Canada from Project A (DCSG) include less GHG emissions by industry, improved thermal efficiency, lower steam‐to‐oil ratio, and the ability for carbon capture and management. For Project B (NAE), the benefits include bitumen production using less water, producing less tailings as well as reduced GHG emissions. Both projects will accelerate technology development particularly for the oil sands operations which will advance Canada’s environmental goals and economic competitiveness.

Project Partners:

Alberta Innovates

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