GE is partnering with the University of Alberta (UA) and Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF) on a $4 million CO2 capture project supported by the Climate Change and Emissions Management (CCEMC) Corporation. This team is leveraging research in nanotechnology to reduce CO2 emissions associated with the extraction and upgrading process, and treatment of produced water generated during the oil recovery.
The technology is based on naturally occurring zeolites identified by UA. These materials are rocks with molecularly sized pores, which allow small molecules to enter while excluding larger molecules. Zeolites are widely used in the chemical industry as catalysts, and this project seeks to form these materials into membranes that can be used for high temperature gas separation.
The materials also have the potential to be used as filters for contaminated water. The CCEMC is providing $2 million in support of this project, with an equal cost share from GE and its project partners.
Anthony Ku, a chemical engineer and project leader for GE Global Research on the CO2 capture project noted that the successful commercialization and widespread adoption of this technology could reduce CO2 emissions from the production of synthetic crude oil from the oil sands by up to 25%.
The CCEMC is a not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to establish or participate in funding for initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support adaptation. The CCEMC invests in discovery, development, and operational deployment of clean technologies.