Technology Access Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability
(TACOSS)

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)

Edmonton, AB

ABOUT TACOSS

About Our Centre

The Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability (COSS) is a state-of-the art research lab staffed by an expert team of applied scientists, engineers and technicians.

Our Vision

We are committed to a future where the environmental and economic challenges of the oil sands have been solved.  In collaboration with our partners, our diverse and resourceful team is achieving this by applying scientific principles, bringing our knowledge to practice and by connecting partners with shared interest.  This will lead to the restoration of pristine, functional landscapes for Albertans.

Our Mission

We bridge the gap between existing oil sands environmental research and relevant solutions, taking innovative ideas from bench to scale-up. We work with businesses and industry to develop technologies that improve the economic and environmental performance of the oil sands industry by validating near-market-ready technologies that relate to challenges and opportunities in this industry.

We are now a Technology Access Centre:

We have now joined a network of Canada’s 60 TACs across the country. TACs are specialized applied research & development centres affiliated with publicly-funded colleges.

What this means for our clients:

We now offer businesses different ways to collaboratively access our state-of-the-art facilities and multidisciplinary teams of experts that can turn innovative ideas into market-ready products.

Our goal is to help Canadian-based businesses, especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) – to get their products, processes and services market-ready by:

  • Offering objective advice and specialized technical services;
  • Providing training related to new types of equipment and processes; and
  • Conducting applied research and development projects focused on company problems.

Our Commitment to Safety

At the Centre, we are committed to having a safe workplace for all of our staff, researchers, and visitors. We believe that safety is a top priority.

Why work with us?

Reliable Third-Party Technology Validator

NAIT ranked in Top 3 Research Institutions in Canada in 2019.*

*The annual ranking by Research Infosource Inc. tracks research income in the form of grants, contracts and contributions from partner organizations.

The polytechnic also ranked first for “research intensity” - the amount of research income per researcher and placed seventh among larger institutions for both research income from industry ($1.9 million) and the number of research partnerships (108).

https://researchinfosource.com/top-50-research-universities/2019/list

Unique Ability to Leverage Funds

As an educational institution, we have access to various grants for Applied Research projects in Alberta and Canada.

Our Talent, Your Advantage

Applied Research is what we do best. Harness the power of our expertise and culture of partnership.

Active Involvement of Students

Providing experiential learning to students.

Trusted Industry Advisor

We identify specific industry challenges and mobilize knowledge to overcome them. We are a preferred provider of technology services for many of our partners.

Friendly Intellectual Property (IP)

Industry maintains and advances the IP to commercialize and remain competitive. NAIT does not retain any interest in the IP.

Leveraging partnerships with other institutions and centers

We are a collaborative research group and work with partners across Canada and other centers at NAIT. We are also a member of the TAC network, connecting with 59 other TACs across Canada.


Contact TACOSS

TACOSS Andrea Sedgwick

Andrea Sedgwick
Ledcor Applied Research Chair in Oil Sands Sustainability

+1-780-378-5067

ASedgwick@nait.ca


TACOSS Monica Franco Herrera

Monica Franco Herrera
Business Development Associate

N/A

monicaf@nait.ca



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RESEARCH AND INNOVATION EXPERTISE

EXPERTISE

  1. Analytical Chemistry
  2. Mining Extraction and Efficiency Technologies
  3. Tailings Treatment Technologies
  4. Industrial Water Treatment Technologies
  5. Oil Sands Extraction Technologies

Previous Research Projects:

  • Water Treatment Technology: Development of a passive, plant-based naphthenic acid remediation technology for treatment of oil sands process-affected water (Phytoremediation)
  • Water Treatment Technology: Membrane Technology Assessment Program ( MTAP) that validates novel produced water treatment technologies developed by industry and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Western Canada
  • Oil Sands Extraction Technology: GHG Emission Reduction, economic growth and diversifiation ( CCITF)
  • Tailings Management Technology: Fundamental characterization and dynamics of clays and clay/flocculents agglomerations – to develop methodologies and broad understanding of mature fine tailings ( MFT) composition and characterizations
  • Tailings Management Technology: Optimization, development and assessment – to implement standardized methodologies to support industry’s ongoing improvements to technologies
  • Tailings Characterization and Identification technologies – to assess existing and identify new technologies to improve the cost and effectiveness of characterizing clay types and clay/flocculent behaviours

Fields of projects:

  • Solid/Liquid Separation
  • Characterization of Aqueous Materials
  • Characterization of Oil-Based Materials/Sediment & Water Analysis in Oil
  • Characterization of Mineral Solids & Ashes
  • Technology Validation for Oil Sands Tailings
  • Characterization of Oils and Contaminants for Pipelines
  • Thickeners, clarifiers, high density flocculation, filter press, centrifuge), flotation.
  • Major anions & cations, naphthenic acid fraction compounds, slurry viscosity, slurry yield stress.

TECHNOLOGY SECTORS

  1. Energy
  2. Environmental Technology

EQUIPMENT AND LABS

Equipment Function

EQUIPMENT USED ON SOLID SAMPLES

X-ray Diffractometer (XRD) Used for materials characterization such as crystal structure, physical properties of materials and thin film.
Atomic Force Microscope – RAMAN (AFM-RAMAN) Used to link the molecular information obtained by confocal Raman microscopy with the high-resolution surface information (structural and topographic surface imaging on the nanometer scale) acquired by AFM. Unique offering in Alberta.
Thermal Gravimetric Analyzer (TGA) Utilized for thermal analysis in which physical and chemical properties of materials changes with temperature, such as decomposition, degradation mechanism, thermal stability, oxidation, combustion.
Metro Carbon Residue Analyzer (MCR) Used for the characterization of coke formation tendency.
Organic Element Analyzer – CHNS Determination of organic elements – Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Sulfur by combustion and Oxygen by pyrolysis.
Surface Area Analyzer – BET Ability to measure surface area of particles.
Laser Scattering Particle Size Distribution Analyzer - PSD Measures particle size distributions by measuring the angular variation in intensity of light scattered as a laser beam passes through a dispersed particulate sample.

EQUIPMENT USED ON SOLIDS OR LIQUIDS

Bruker Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) FTIR with fixed path; attenuated reflectance and diffuse reflectance cells for the analysis of wide variety of organic compounds, films and powders. Measurement of naphthenic acid content in process affected waters.
UV-VIS Spectrophotometer Analyze a variety of samples by conventional spectroscopy but advanced techniques can be implemented using the fibre optic accessory.
Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF) Capabilities include elemental analysis in different kinds of samples: solids, liquid or powder.
Brookfield Rheometers – LV, RV, HB, 5 HB, & RST (5 Pieces of Equipment) Rheology and viscosity for tailings treatment technologies. Can measure vane yield stresses from 0.1 Pa to 120 kPa.

EQUIPMENT USED ON OILS

Karl Fischer Titrator Titration method in chemical analysis that uses coulometric or volumetric titration to determine trace amounts of water in a sample.
Anton Paar SVM 3000 Viscometer Used to measure the dynamic viscosity and density of oily samples and is equipped with a 48-position auto-sampler.
The Benchmark S Heated Oil Centrifuge Designed for determining basic sediment and water (BS&W) content in crude oil or refined petroleum products on benchtops at indoor locations without Class I, Division 2 requirements. Fully insulated to prevent heat loss and allow for more accurate temperature control.

EQUIPMENT USED ON WATER

Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph With Quadruple Time-of-Light Mass Spectrometer (HPLC-Q-TOF-MS) The QTOF is equipped with 3 different ion sources, electrospray ionization (ESI), atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI) and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) to enable a wide variety of samples to be analyzed. The UHPLC enables the separation of components in complex mixtures.
Ion Chromatography (IC) Method for separating ions based upon their interactions with resin (stationary phase) and the eluent (mobile phase). Used for measuring major anions and cations in process affected waters.
Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) Analytical technique used for the detection of chemical elements.
Dissolved and Total Organic/Inorganic Carbon Analyzer (DOC/TOC) Measures the amount of dissolved or total organic/inorganic carbon present in a liquid or water sample.
Alkalinity Titrator Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity of water or any solution to neutralize or “buffer” acids. This measure of acid-neutralizing capacity is important in figuring out how “buffered” the water is against sudden changes in pH.
Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer Capabilities include characterization of homopolymer and copolymer molecular weight distributions, composition and deconvolution of homopolymer and copolymer mixtures, hydrocarbon analysis quantification and characterization.

EQUIPMENT USED ON SLURRIES

Specific Resistance to Filtration – SRF Used extensively as a measure of dewaterability.
Capillary suction timer (CST) Commonly used method to measure the filterability and the easiness of removing moisture from slurry and sludge in numerous environmental and industrial applications.
Brookfield Rheometers – LV, RV, HB, 5 HB, & RST (5 Pieces of Equipment) Rheology and viscosity for tailings treatment technologies. Can measure vane yield stresses from 0.1 Pa to 120 kPa.

EQUIPMENT USED ON GASES/HEADSPACE FROM LIQUIDS

Gas Chromatograph

Four units specializing in sulfur, methane, and simulated distillation.

  • Sulfur GC – Conduct detailed sulfur analysis. Capable to deliver quantitative sulfur results for light. hydrocarbon matrices.
  • SIMDIST- GC– Conduct simulated distillation on crude oil samples.
  • GC – General chromatography capabilities for hydrocarbon samples.
  • GHG GC – Test samples for greenhouse gases.

Gas Chromatograph – Mass Spectrometer Can perform investigative chemistry work using mass spectroscopy. Able to identify samples with unknown constituents using mass spectroscopy.
  • FUNDER: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • FUNDER: Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
  • FUNDER: Alberta Innovates
  • CanMET Energy: Canada’s leading research and technology organization in the field of clean energy.
  • Water Technology Development Centre (WTDC)- for large-scale testing and evaluation of oil sands technology
  • University of Alberta- for high-temperature reverse osmosis membrane development
  • Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)- For expertise in in situ steam generation.