IOSI has established four themes for the 2019 call designed to accommodate both ongoing research issues, address gaps in our research themes and respond to evolving areas of research. The 2019 call for LOIs encompasses the four themes and their priorities as identified below.
The deadline for completed Letters of Intent is January 15, 2020.
Research Themes and Priorities – 2019 Call
This theme covers various aspects of both water-based extraction and non-aqueous extraction (NAE) from oil sands. IP generated from research in this theme area is retained by the University of Alberta. Please consult the document Agreement on Conditions for Researcher Participation in IOSI Projects before submitting the LOI.
- Improve bitumen liberation and recovery in hydrotransport (HT) + primary separation cell (PSC) with an emphasis on high fines ores
- Improve fundamental understanding of slurry conditioning in HT
- Improve fundamental understanding of caustic / surfactants (naturally occurring or additives) on operability (e.g., liberation, flotation) and bitumen quality (e.g., TAN, Ca-Naphthenates)
- Methods to reduce TAN, Ca2+, sulfur, etc. in the bitumen without affecting extraction performance
- Identify new breakthrough / step-out technologies to extract bitumen at lower cost / lower energy to the currently available warm water extraction technology for oil sands mining. Bitumen product must meet 300 ppmw solids spec (on a dry bitumen basis).
Online Instrumentation for Oil Sands
Focus is on development of sensors and online monitoring technologies for smooth and robust commercial oil sands operations. IP generated from research in this theme area is retained by the researchers and researcher-affiliated organizations. Please consult the document Agreement on Conditions for Researcher Participation in IOSI Projects before submitting the LOI.
- Identify process stream properties that are desirable to be measured and monitored in the oil sands operations
- Identify available sensing technologies as well as potential sensing technologies to meetthe needs of industrial online measurements, monitoring and process control
List of priority items to focus on:
- Faster bitumen/solids/water estimation in place of Dean-Stark analysis. The highest priority is on “online bitumen content determination in tailings and middlings slurries”
- Large lump detection to improve crusher performance / reliability
- Metal detection upstream of the crusher
- Measurement tool for size distribution of lumps downstream of the secondary / tertiary crushers and lump measurements in HT close to the PSC inlet to understand ablation
- Online viscosity measurement for PSC middlings layer
- A clay analyzer would be very useful (potentially in place of a fines analyzer)
- Real time asphaltene measurement of froth to enable better online control of paraffinic froth treatment (PFT)
- Online slurry rheology
- Something that could tell us clay or fines distribution within a cell, or in a subaqueous environment (for tailings deposition)
General comments for online instrumentation:
- In the online instrumentation theme, the research scope is between fundamental and prototyping, mostly aiming to solve problems. So the project is not completely fundamental. For example, one can propose to use LIBS on a particular stream of oil sands operation to get an understanding how it might work. The research projects are mostly early testing of a potential new technique.
- Presently, some of the analyzers in use do not provide reliable and repeatable data. The parts failure rate is very high and require excessive maintenance
- Fouling is a major issue with probes (sensors) being used in oil sand applications
- Problems are caused by the accumulation of clays, bitumen, etc. Operating conditions are hash (wide temperature variations), so reliability and easy maintenance is important. Should think about fouling possibility when looking at a new technique.
- Erosion is very high in slurries because of sand, etc.
Product Cleaning and Partial Upgrading
We have put a temporary hold on the call as we go through internal rationalization and adjustment. Watch this space for more information later on.