Success Story

New Method to Extract Heavy Oil from Oil Sands

Kansas City Plant inventors, in conjunction with Millennium Technologies Inc., have jointly developed a new process to recover heavy oil from oil sands. Much of the world’s oil reserves are in the form of oil sands and in the western part of the United States alone, there is an estimated heavy oil reserve of nearly 100 billion barrels. This new process not only has the potential to decrease the United States’ dependence on foreign oil but also uses an environmentally friendly, non-aqueous process well suited for water scarce western regions.

This two phase process involves the use of a renewable, generally recognized as safe (GRAS) solvent, followed by a liquid or supercritical carbon dioxide rinse to remove the extraction solvent from the sand. Both the extraction and rinse phases are recovered using closed–loop processing to eliminate losses. The new process expands upon a previous collaboration that was awarded a FLC Technology Transfer Award in 2006.