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Clean steam

New lab aims to provide environmentally-friendly solutions for the oilsands

New lab aims to provide environmentally-friendly solutions for the oilsands

SAIT's Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) celebrated the opening of the new Once Through Steam Generator (OTSG) Applied Research Laboratory Friday, Nov. 16.

The lab, located at the University Research Park, is used for conducting research in energy efficiency and environmental performance. ARIS' Dr. Vita Martez is working with the Canadian oilsands industry to find environmentally sustainable solutions for steam generation.

"This lab will enable development of new innovations and technologies that have the potential to significantly reduce water usage and greenhouse gas emissions from Canada's oilsands," says Dan Wicklum, CEO, Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA).

The overall goal of the OTSG research is to deepen knowledge and skills in in-situ steam generation — a technique using heat to recover oil or bitumen — and transform the energy sector through sustainable, clean-tech solutions.

"We know that by reducing fresh water usage, emissions, and increasing steam, energy and water recycling efficiency, the OTSG lab will not only benefit the heavy oil industry in Alberta, but will help create innovation and continue to highlight Alberta as a leader in clean technology solutions," says Ross Chow, Managing Director, InnoTech Alberta.

Student engagement has been a cornerstone policy in ARIS since its inception — and the OTSG opens new avenues for students.

"Our OTSG lab will not only accelerate leading edge applied research, it will contribute to student experiential learning by creating opportunities to expand their knowledge and equip them with the tools they need to transform industry," says Dr. Alex Zahavich, Vice President, Corporate Development, Applied Research and International.

Top scientists and engineers from ConocoPhillips have provided the intellectual property for the design and build of this first of its kind lab-scale OTSG test rig in Canada. The funding for this laboratory was made possible by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) with additional contributions from COSIA and Alberta Innovates (AI).

This unique OTSG Laboratory and applied-research infrastructure is expected to find key solutions to critical operational and environmental challenges associated with steam generation for in-situ oilsands.


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