Kemira aids oil sands sustainable water research

Finnish chemicals company Kemira has joined an industrial research program of the University of Alberta intended to foster sustainable water use, including water reuse and recycling, in Canadian oil sands extraction.

The company, which specializes in water treatment, announced on 16 September 2010 that it is collaborating with companies Outotec and Suncor Energy Services, the Canadian government and the Alberta Water Research Institute to establish a Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) industrial research chair at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

The industry research chair is titled Water Quality Management for Oil Sands Extraction. Dr Subir Bhattacharjee, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta, has been appointed chairholder.

The five-year long research program focuses on water quality management studies to address water consumption, reuse and recycling by the insitu oil-sands extraction industry. It will also contribute to the science of water treatment, particularly related to physical and chemical processes for removal of water from oil-water-solid systems.

“We believe that our global water chemistry expertise will provide essential contribution in developing water quality and quantity management in the oil and gas sector,” said Harri Kerminen, president and CEO of Kemira. “Proper recycling and reuse of water resources are crucial to the long term viability of the Alberta oil sands. This research investment is part of Kemira’s Center of Water Efficiency Excellence programs we started earlier this year. We are looking for business growth based on new technology in the most rapidly growing water technology application areas”.

The research chair is funded jointly by the industry (Can$ 750,000 (US$ 732,000)), the Alberta Water Research Institute, part of Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (Can$ 600,000 (US$ 585,000)) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Can$ 750,000) over five years