Goal of alberta is to Go toward zero emissions for extraction. Just like conventional oil, alaska and others. The battle is that our oil is considered as dirty oil. The main culbrit is the open mining we're doing to get to oilsands that are on the surface. The treatement of the bitumen requires lots of chemical using the open mining concept and it leaves lots of residual waters that we can't do anything with - they are called the tailing ponds. Now unfortunately it's still how the bulk of the oil is extracted, in 5yrs in won't be the same, the new processes will be taking over. New processes that are much cleaner in terms of ecological footprint.
Water consumption even with the new and much cleaner processes are making extensive use of water. It's funny that water here is gold, it's the expensive resource used in order to get the byproduct - oil. So people, researchers are working at optimizing where water is used in the process in order to increase the roi. The interesting point to make about the roi in this case is that it factors the ecological footprint of the activities as a whole, and I think this is smart.
To give the right imagery about oilsand, the extracted or to be extracted resource viscosity is just like peanut butter that you would need to push through a straw. So increasing the viscosity in the extraction process is important so that it can go straight through the pipeline.
The new processes being deployed now are going to use between 20pc and 50pc less water, while others are not using water at all but are generation more emissions of co2. So it's all compromises for now. From the slides I saw it looks like they have a 10 to 1 improvement in water consumption to make overall process for our oil to not be considered dirty oil, or wasteful. The researchers seemed optimistic that the right things are being done and that it seems that this is an achievable goal. The question is how long?
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