Tailings EPA: APIC, an epic space for advanced tailings research

Applied Process Innovation Centre

Canadian Natural’s Applied Process Innovation Centre is a 3,600 square foot, onsite facility that provides a dedicated, fit-for-purpose space to enhance and accelerate a wide range of tailings treatment technologies.

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Jonathan Matthews

Jonathan Matthews
Director, Tailings EPA

COSIA’s model of open innovation goes back further than COSIA itself. A willingness to share tailings research and technology motivated the formation of the Oil Sands Tailings Consortium (OSTC) in 2010. The OSTC agreement was then fully integrated into COSIA when we formed in 2012. In February, Imperial, CNRL, Shell, Suncor, Syncrude, and Teck renewed the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) for an additional five years. The re-signing of the Tailings EPA JVA is clear evidence of the steadfast commitment each of the signatories has to accelerate the pace of improvement through innovative oil sands tailings management technology deployment and the sharing of best practices.  

We saw another great example of COSIA’s model in action at the Tailings Process Fundamentals Research Workshop in April. The session was hosted on the University of Alberta campus by the Institute of Oil Sands Innovation, which itself is a powerful collaboration between COSIA Associate Members, the University of Alberta and Alberta Innovates, along with COSIA member company, Imperial. Researchers were invited to present the latest research on various tailings innovation opportunities—10 in total—to an audience of experienced researchers from industry, academia and governments from around the world. Openly sharing what we’ve learned in this way and hearing directly from other researchers and innovators about new and developing technologies is a powerful element for accelerating improvement. 

And then, of course, there’s the Applied Process Innovation Centre at Canadian Natural’s Horizon site. You can read more about it in this quarter’s case study. It is another great example of how we can work together, even sharing space, equipment and samples, to meet our common goals.