Suncor is a pioneer of technological innovation — building a new industry from the oil sands that many said could not be developed economically. Our early and ongoing investments helped unlock the potential of the oil sands by improving reliability, expanding productivity and driving down costs while reducing environmental impacts. And we're proud of our track record of innovation. Our ability to meet past challenges gives us the confidence to meet the challenges we face today. Suncor continues to innovate:
- Tailings management
We are working hard to accelerate the reclamation of our oil sands tailings ponds — a by-product of the mining and extraction process. And we were the first oil sands company to complete surface reclamation of a tailings pond. Wapisiw Lookout is now a 220 hectare area of mixed wood forest and a small wetland.
In 2010 Suncor developed a new approach to tailings management, which if successful, may help reduce tailings ponds reclamation time from 30 years to 10. As of 2012, Suncor completed more than $1.3 billion of work to implement our pioneering TRO™ process in our oil sands operation. This approach will help us reduce our existing inventory of tailings and the need for future ponds.
- Carbon capture and storage
Suncor is a founding partner of the CO2 Capture Project (CCP) which aims to advance knowledge of carbon capture and storage (CCS) through research and development to make it commercially viable. Suncor has also been a leading participant in in the Integrated CO2 Network (ICO2N) a group of Canadian companies from multiple industries working to accelerate CCS.
- Oxy-Fuel Combustion
Suncor is involved in a collaborative research and development project that could improve the prospects for implementing carbon capture and storage at in situ extraction sites. The technology is expected to avoid and eliminate much of the CO2 emissions from in situ production.
- Zero Liquid Discharge
Suncor uses a zero liquid discharge process at our MacKay River in situ facility to achieve maximum water reuse by recovering waste water from produced bitumen.
Through collaborative technology development, Suncor is currently undertaking field tests on using this condensing solvent to extract bitumen, which could significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
- SAGD LITE (Less Intensive Technology Enhanced)
Suncor is experimenting with the use of surfactants and additives to increase oil recovery while using less energy and water to reduce environmental impact.
- ESEIEH (Enhanced Solvent Extraction Incorporating Electromagnetic Heating)
This new method of in situ bitumen recovery uses radio frequency heating and solvent to reduce energy, greenhouse gas and water footprints. Currently a joint development partnership is undertaking a technology proof of concept project with field pilot testing for ESEIEH scheduled in 2014.
If you are interested in submitting a technology proposal to Suncor please submit your proposal through our online submission form.