Of particular interest is the opportunity in the Alberta Oil Sands, the fastest growing source of carbon emissions in Canada. Unconventional hydrocarbon production from oil sands is the subject of concern by certain groups due to its higher overall carbon footprint compared to conventional oil production, which is already considerable.
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' revolutionary enzymatic technology is well positioned to solve this challenge. Pilot demonstrations currently underway show that 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 solution that is 35 to 60% more economical than conventional amine processes.
In 2013 and 2014, the Government of Canada invested $4.7 million in CO2 Solutions’ $7.5 million project to support the development of its carbon-capture technology in the Alberta Oil Sands as part of a pre-pilot phase. The project was further supported by $500,000 in grant funding from Alberta's Climate Change and Emissions (CCEMC) Corporation. The pre-pilot phase of the project was successfully completed and its associated technology performance milestones were met and exceeded.
CO2 Solutions’ unique industrial lung technology has since been tested in larger scale field pilot testing at a thermal heavy oil operation in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, and first results have clearly demonstrated its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The testing was carried out in collaboration with Husky Energy.