Advanced Clean Technologies Announces Cleaner, More Efficient Method to Process Oil Sands
On Nov. 12 American Clean Technologies (ACT) reported additional information about the pilot tests conducted by its American Petroleum Solutions (APS) subsidiary, including the fact that the oil extraction rate was more than 99 percent in tests conducted on oil sand samples from Utah and Alberta, Canada.
APS, which ACT acquired on Oct. 5, uses its patented fluidizer—which the company refers to as “a water-based technology”—to separate oil from any solid surface, including soil and sand. This fluidizer allows oil to be rejected by a solid surface, resulting in recoverable oil. While APS has used this technology for environmental remediation projects after oil spills, removing oil from contaminated soil or sand, the recent tests have shown its promise in extracting oil from the difficult-to-mine oil sands of Alberta.
The findings were reported in a company-issued press release, so the information has not been independently verified. However, this technology could significantly reduce the cost of producing oil from oil sands, making oil sands excavation and processing projects more attractive to investors, and laying the groundwork for a major increase in North American oil production.
According to the Alberta Energy website, Alberta ranks second after Saudi Arabia in proven crude oil reserves. The oil sands areas of Alberta contain an estimated 1.7 trillion barrels of crude bitumen trapped in a mixture of clay, sand, and water. About 10 percent (170.4 billion barrels) of this bitumen is recoverable using current technology. Depending on the bitumen content of the oil sands, potentially 90 percent to 100 percent of the bitumen could be recovered using ACT’s developing technology.
Gregg Gethard wrote on HeatingOil.com that Canada’s oil sands are more difficult and expensive to mine. Gethard cited an article on Bloomberg.com, which quoted the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook as saying that “oil sands projects in Canada account for the bulk of the suspended oil [production] capacity” resulting from the global economic crisis.