In February, Tom Reinders, Technology Development Engineer at Devon, and Darrell Martindale, Technical Opportunity Manager at Shell, experienced the collaborative opportunities COSIA’s Associate Member Program has created. Tom and Darrell travelled to Israel on behalf of COSIA to meet with representatives from the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) to discuss the capabilities and potential for Israeli technology providers to contribute to COSIA.
CIIRDF was established in 1995 under a formal mandate from the governments of Canada and Israel. The partnership helps private sector companies in both countries to participate in collaborative research and development with a focus on the commercialization of new technologies. CIIRDF is a COSIA Associate Member that acts as an innovation hub for technology providers and developers in Israel – providing them opportunities to collaborate with each other and with third parties like COSIA.
Tom and Darrell both sit on the Water EPA’s Steering Committee. Darrell helped COSIA develop the Water EPA’s scope of work during its creation in 2012 and has been involved ever since as Shell’s Steering Committee Representative for the Water EPA’s mining portfolio. Tom is Devon’s alternate Steering Committee representative and focuses on work in the in situ portfolio. Together, the two were able to provide the members of CIIRDF with an overview of the collaboration opportunities in both the Water EPA’s mining and in situ portfolios. They were also able to represent COSIA’s Greenhouse Gas EPA during their discussions.
Through CIIRDF, Tom and Darrell met with various Israeli companies, including the technology transfer offices of three universities, Israel’s Department of Economy and the Office of the Chief Scientists. They also met with Israel’s three major defence companies. “The objective of the meetings was to raise the awareness of COSIA’s Gaps and Challenges, in order to provide the members of CIIRDF with the specific technology needs of COSIA’s members,” says Tom, adding that they also provide them with an overview of the oil sands to make it easier for them to collaborate effectively with COSIA members.
The companies that Tom and Darrell met with expressed keen interest in finding ways to contribute to improving environmental performance in the oil sands through technology development. “Israel has a culture of research and problem solving,” says Darrell.
In addition to meeting with various Israeli companies, Tom and Darrell conducted a workshop with over 50 companies that were identified by the Chief Scientist’s office, most of which have developed technologies in the areas of process instrumentation and control, water treatment and greenhouse gas reduction. “I came away with an appreciation of how Israel has fostered a culture of innovation. They are world leaders in launching startups and funding startups. It was interesting to see how they do it and to consider ways to use their methods to address COSIA’s Opportunity Areas and Gaps,” says Tom.
Through the Associate Member Program, partnerships with companies like CIIRDF have opened doors to relationships with additional organizations. “CIIDRF connects us to a hundred more partners,” explains Darrell. “The Associate Member Program has allowed the members of COSIA to get to know these new organizations and bring back learnings that can be shared in Canada to improve environmental performance in the oil sands.”
Tom and Darrell both emphasized that these partnerships are not only beneficial to their own organizations, but are also valuable to each member company. “Working with COSIA and the Associate Members has opened my eyes to the value of collaboration, and I am always reminded that we have the best chance to achieve the goals of COSIA through open collaboration,” says Tom.
They also expressed that finding solutions and technologies for COSIA means that each member company is also finding solutions and technologies to meet the needs of their own Gaps and Challenges. “COSIA has exposed me to issues and challenges that other companies have and to parts of the industry that I haven’t been exposed to before. COSIA has allowed me to learn about new technologies and how they can be applied to the oil sands, and I find that very personally satisfying,” says Darrell.
COSIA is working on solving very complex issues. Tom and Darrell say the Associate Member Program, and building relationships with organizations such as CIIRDF, broadens the scope of the innovative community working to help COSIA achieve its goals.