New research out of the University of Calgary looks to eliminate water tailing ponds from bitumen extraction.
How liquid salt could be the answer to oilsands tailings ponds
But scientists and engineers at the University of Calgary are taking aim at eliminating watery tailings from the oilsands production process with the help of specialized liquid salt.
Hot water is used in oilsands mining operations to extract the oily bitumen from the sand, with the resulting wastewater ending up in tailings ponds to settle and later be reused. Alberta has an estimated 1.3 trillion litres of fluid tailings sitting in tailings ponds.
Paula Berton and Steven Bryant believe ionic liquids, or liquid salt, offer a possible solution.