Alberta Oil Sands
Of particular interest is the opportunity in the Alberta oil sands, the fastest growing source of carbon emissions in Canada. Unconventional hydrocarbon production from the oil sands is the subject of concern by certain groups due to its higher overall carbon footprint vis-à-vis conventional oil production. This results largely from the combustion of natural gas to produce steam which is injected underground to produce this oil in-situ with a method known as Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD). Both industry and government are focused on ways to reduce emissions from the oil sands, with CCS being a mitigation option of major interest. However, the cost of conventional carbon capture technology is prohibitive to its wide commercial deployment.
CO2 Solutions' enzymatic technology is well positioned to solve this challenge. For carbon capture from in-situ operations, as well as from heavy oil upgrading operations, enzyme-accelerated, low-energy solvents can be employed to provide a lower-cost solution than conventional amine processes.
In January 2013, CO2 Solutions announced the award of $4.7 million from the Government of Canada towards a $7.5 million project for the optimization and pilot testing of its technology for the low-cost capture of carbon emissions from natural gas combustion in the Alberta oil sands. The project is further supported by up to $500,000 in grant funding from Alberta's Climate Change and Emissions (CCEMC) Corporation. As of April, 2014, the pre-pilot phase of the project was successfully completed and its associated technology performance milestones were met and exceeded. The remainder of the project will involve the larger scale field pilot testing of the CO2 Solutions process in Saskatchewan at a thermal heavy oil operation in collaboration with Husky Energy.