The hydrocarbon processing service focuses on working with partners to develop mineable oil sands and bitumen processing technologies and methods. Our technical knowledge and lab testing capabilities assess bitumen extraction from mined oil sands, enhance the processing of fluids treatment (froth, oil, and water), tailings management, and add value to bitumen through partial upgrading and the generation of asphaltene carbon fibres.
We can characterize emulsion and froth to enhance production fluids separation; improving tailings treatment; and adding value to bitumen through partial upgrading and asphaltene carbon fibres development. These efforts advance well productivity in oil production and improve the physical chemical characterization of petroleum fluids.
InnoTech’s capabilities in the surface mining bitumen extraction and strong track record in providing technical solutions to oil sand operators have made it a preferred R&D laboratory. We are also a research provider to the AACI consortia program and Bitumen Beyond Combustion Program from AI-Clean Resources.
Fresh water use in the extraction of heavy oil and bitumen is a major environmental challenge in the oilsands. It results in tailings ponds with high concentrations of toxins and by-products that are an ecological threat to animals, plants, and people.
We assist in developing non-aqueous procedures using oil sand ores, submitted to solvents, and turned into transportable bitumen. This reduces the use of water, the requirement for tailings ponds, and, as opposed to water, the solvent can be recycled and reused.
We research and advance the process of froth treatment for oil sands clients. This refers to the process of removing water and minerals (usually using naphthenic or paraffinic methods) so that the viscosity of the bitumen is reduced and can be processed.
The process involves injecting light hydrocarbon and then mixing it with the bitumen froth, it is then subjected to a froth separator to separate this mixture using gravity. The hydrocarbon can then be recycled and put through this process again until it is clean enough to be recovered (generally <1% water and <1% solids)
InnoTech works with petroleum producers and regulatory agencies to provide technical supports and solutions for the inter-related impacts of tailings ponds in the oil sands industry. Our work has created a unique platform and service package to validate new and existing tailings technologies from slurry to soils.
We have extensive experience using flocculation (adding a chemical coagulant to water acts to bond particles), sedimentation (the settling of suspended particles as sludge), geotechnics (using engineering, geological, and hydrological principles), and chemical additives in tailings treatment.
The process of bitumen partial upgrading is used to process heavy oil and bitumen to improve its quality and decrease its viscosity (thickness) and density. Overall, bitumen partial upgrading improves the quality of bitumen and heavy oil.
Partial upgrading ensures the heavy oil/bitumen can be transported via pipelines for refinement, increases the value of the bitumen and heavy oil, improves access to energy resources, and reduced the impact of the industry on the environment.
Asphaltene is a component of heavy, crude oil that makes bitumen difficult to process. InnoTech has been developing a process to convert these graphene-like molecules to carbon fibres that can be utilized in the construction and automotive industries.
The biggest opportunity with asphaltene carbon fibre development is that it lowers the cost of oil production, it promotes a higher value per barrel of oil, and has widespread manufacturing potential.