Water Technology Development Centre

About 80% of Alberta’s oil sands reserves can be recovered through in situ extraction technology. In situ operations use water to produce high temperature steam that is injected into the reservoir to heat the bitumen. The water is recovered, treated and used again. In situ operators have established a world-class water technology development centre (WTDC) at an operating oil sands facility to conduct collaborative research to reduce the cost of water recycling, improve the reliability and efficiency of recycling technology and reduce the environmental footprint of facilities.

The WTDC is a dedicated facility to test new technologies on ‘live’ process fluids in real-world conditions. Its unique design allows operators to share risks and costs so they can drive the development of more technologies than they could on their own. The test centre will speed technology development and implementation, shortening the current timeframe required to field test technologies and move them to commercial application, leading to an accelerated return on investment.

The $143 million WTDC is one of the Joint Industry Projects being convened under Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), the innovation arm of the Pathways Alliance, with funding support from Alberta Innovates. The WTDC is attached to Suncor Energy’s Firebag in situ facility.

A 3-D model of the WTDC at Suncor’s Firebag plant.