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World-Class Analytical and Pilot Facilities

Analytical Development

CanmetENERGY’s analytical capabilities include a comprehensive suite of standard tests and procedures. Our scientists and researchers are leaders in developing new analytical methodologies to fulfill industry’s demands for better and detailed compositional information on highly complicated hydrocarbons. To ensure the highest quality of these tests, we participate in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) round robin program. Here are just some of the analytical methodologies we use:

  • Gas chromatography (GC)-based methods
    • GC with mass spectrometric detection: EIMS and FIMS
    • GC with element-selective detection: AED, SCD, NCD
    • GCxGC with FID, SCD, NCD, and TOFMS detection
  • Liquid chromatography
  • Vibrational spectroscopy: FTIR, Raman, photoacoustic
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Advanced data analysis and chemometrics

These capabilities are critical to our research and development as well as in gaining creditability in the industrial and scientific areas both locally and worldwide.

Pilot Facilities

The ability to scale up from concept to bench scale and from bench to pilot scale as well as from batch to continuous are essential pre-requisites for the creditability to produce innovative technologies that can be transferred successfully to industry.

CanmetENERGY has a comprehensive set of pilot plants. These pilot plants have been used by our scientists to demonstrate the viability of their innovative technologies and by our engineers in evaluating technologies developed by entrepreneurs or being considered by industry or governments.

These pilot plants are also used to develop very credible engineering information to decide on the economic and environmental viability of new technologies.

Froth Treatment

Our Froth Treatment Pilot Facility is used to develop more cost-effective and energy-efficient processes for the production of "pipelineable" bitumen, while reducing emissions produced during processing.

Current extraction technologies typically produce froths containing 30-40% water and 5-10% solids. Work is aimed at developing and evaluating new technologies for producing solids-free, dry (low water content) bitumen that meets pipeline specifications and is suitable as a feedstock for downstream processing. Complete removal of the water, dissolved minerals, and solids reduces the cost of upgrading and refining. Improved froth treatment will reduce the number of process steps, improve overall energy efficiency, and reduce environmental impact.


Our scientists and engineers use state-of-the-art process equipment ranging from autoclaves to pilot-scale continuous distillation, and slurry hydrocracking/hydrotreating units.

A full range of recognized international standards, such as American Standards for Testing Materials (ASTM), Canadian General Standard Board (CGSB), and American Petroleum Institute (API), of pilot plant and refinery product streams are available. Upgrading services are backed by applied in-house research programs networked to company research centres and universities worldwide.

Managed by CanmetENERGY at the Devon (Alberta) research centre.

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