Alberta uses radio waves to produce oil without emissions

Microwave kerosene cooking: The idea may seem absurd, but that’s what Acceleware has been working on for over 12 years.

Instead of injecting steam and chemicals into the ground, the company uses waves to heat oil underground and bring it to the surface.

It’s like heating a cup of water in a microwave, but we do it underground. We inject energy from radio waves, as in a microwave oven, to heat the oil and bring it to the surface when it reaches the desired viscosity.explains Acceleware President Jeff Clark.

Companies are now introducing steam heated by natural gas and chemicals to produce precious black gold.

A man wears a construction helmet and a work jacket in the office.

Jeff Clark, president of Acceleware, believes the oil industry could benefit from its product.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Kyle Bakx / CBC

According to Jeff Clark, the idea of ​​using terrestrial waves is not new, but in the past companies have experimented with the use of communication equipment that is not suitable for this task.

1940.On essayait de le faire avec de l’équipement radiophonique ou de télévision très puissant et on mettait ce genre d’antennes sous terre.”,”text”:”C’est une idée qui date des années1940.On essayait de le faire avec de l’équipement radiophonique ou de télévision très puissant et on mettait ce genre d’antennes sous terre.”}}”>This is an idea that dates back to the 1940s, we tried to do it with very powerful radio or television equipment, and we put such antennas underground.

In our opinion, the frequencies were not good at all, and the efficiency and cost of this type of equipment is too expensive for this application. We used new generation communication equipment and silicon carbide transistors and developed another way to transmit frequency to the underground layer at a lower cost.he says.

We believe that we have a solution to this decade-old problem. »

The quote h Jeff Clark, President of Acceleware

In the spring, the company launched a commercial test of the concept to prove that the technology works and is ready to enter the market.

Cenovus, Suncor, federal government and provincial programs Alberta innovates and Albert emission reductions are funding a pilot project worth $ 21.5 million.

It was an amazing day to see oil coming out of the earthsays Jeff Clark.

Acceleware says it is still in the process of developing its technology, and a pilot project will test the capabilities of its system.

At the moment, the company does not disclose how much oil it manages to extract due to its pilot project. So far, this is in line with the simulation however, she says.

According to Jeff Clark, this technology can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry while reducing the need for water and the area of ​​land needed for oil production.

Race to reduce emissions

According to Brian Helfenbaum, General Manager of Advanced HydrocarbonsAlberta innovatesthe technology developed by Acceleware is promising.

We will need to test whether this process is commercially viable. There are many factors to consider to determine if it can be distributed on a large scale. So I would say it’s early, but it’s interestinghe said.

This is interesting because they eliminate the use of steam to remove oil. The vast majority of oil sands emissions are related to the combustion of natural gas to form steam [afin d’extraire le pétrole]so this is really a new approach that can significantly reduce emissionshe adds.

It now remains to demonstrate the commercial viability of this technology and persuade the industry to adopt it. Jeff Clark believes that the industry is ready for something new.

In the past, oil sands producers have been slow to introduce new technologies, but I think that given the pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they will look for new technologies.

With files from Kyle Bucks