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Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA)

Overview

We aspire to produce oil with lower greenhouse gas emissions than other sources of oil. COSIA members are progressing ways to reduce energy use and associated GHG emissions for oil sands deep below the surface (in situ) and at the surface (mining) through a variety of innovative technologies.

Our innovation efforts include finding ways to:

  • improve energy efficiency in all aspects of oil sands operations, including how steam is produced for in situ facilities
  • identify, evaluate and verify new low carbon mining technologies for moving material and extracting bitumen
  • identify, evaluate and verify new low carbon technologies and approaches for in situ recovery of bitumen
  • design best practices for operations to support environmental performance
  • identify novel ways of producing low carbon heat and power
  • identify ways to better measure and reduce fugitive emissions from tailings ponds and the mine face
  • reduce the cost of capturing and storing or converting CO2

As part of identifying new sources of low carbon heat and power, COSIA members are interested in better understanding the opportunity for Small Modular Reactor (SMR) application in the oil sands. Potential applications are for high quality and temperature heat to generate steam for use in either in situ bitumen recovery operations, mine extraction activities, or upgraders. Alternatively, or additionally, SMRs could be used to provide zero emission power for existing and future oil sands operations, including future GHG technologies such as natural gas decarbonization and CO2 conversion.

The oil sands industry will proactively explore the opportunities associated with the potential for SMR applications for industrial heat (and potentially power) in the oil sands and continue to evaluate the opportunities and associated technologies. COSIA members will look to the nuclear industry to develop SMRs in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner for potential use in the oil sands and beyond.

Actions

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Preliminary Evaluation of SMRs in an Oil Sands Context
STATUS: COMPLETE
COS01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 52

ACTION

Support Alberta Innovates in the development of an analysis of SMRs in the oil sands for different applications.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Release of a public report.

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
SMR Technology Monitoring, Assessment, and Opportunity Identification
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
COS02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 52, 35, 29, 14

ACTION

Work with nuclear industry stakeholders (e.g. CNL, CNA, COG) and initiatives (e.g. US DoE Micro Reactor program including and Advanced Reactor Demonstration program) to track the development and progress of emerging SMR technologies for their suitability in an oil sands application (heat or power). Use this information to understand and consider opportunities at an oil sands site. Includes understanding opportunities for utilities to engage with end users and explore potential deployment models (including commercial options, partnerships, etc.).

EXPECTED RESULTS

Better understanding of the SMR technologies, their applicability to oil sands operations and possible deployment models with utilities.

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Tracking Regulatory Process Developments
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
COS03

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 52, 07, 15, 23

ACTION

Ensure open communication with NRCan, CNA, and CNSC to understand any developments in the regulatory process and regulations regarding the approvals of demonstration facilities, commercial facilities, and associated nuclear waste management.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Keeping up to date with regulatory developments with SMR deployment in Canada.

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
SMR Workshop Participation
STATUS: UPCOMING
COS04

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 52

ACTION

Participate in a workshop with representatives from Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Nuclear Association, Canadian Mining Innovation Council, and the Mining Association of Canada to further explore options for SMR applications in the oilsands.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Better understand the SMR technologies, potential opportunities and value proposition, and associated stakeholder perspectives.

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Provide Heat & Power Requirements to Third Parties
STATUS: COMPLETE
COS05

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 52

ACTION

Provide necessary technical data (energy and material balance information) related to in situ and mining operations for third parties such as utilities and the CNA to effectively assess SMR applications and opportunities in the oil sands.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Third parties to evaluate SMR applications and opportunities in the oil sands.