Available Technology

BioTiger: (Biological Enhancement of Hydrocarbon Extraction)

Scientists at the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) have discovered a new environmental biocatalyst for improving the recovery of hydrocarbons entrained in sediments utilizing a patented consortium of microbes known as BioTigerTM. BioTigerTMcomprises unique and balanced strains of natural bacteria that are especially suited to the task of destroying or otherwise mitigating polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals. It was used in the first-ever biological field treatment of mixed petroleum and radioactive waste, transforming it into low-level radioactive waste. BioTigerTMaddresses one of the most fundamental limitations of bioremediation-the viability of the bacteria under harsh environmental conditions including high acidity and low temperatures to perform well. The use of BioTigerTMrequires no material removal, aeration, or addition of fertilizers, although the process can be further accelerated by these techniques.
Patent Abstract: 
In addition to environmental cleanup uses, BiotigerTMshows significant promise for effectively increasing oil recovery from oil sands without added chemicals. The microbes attach themselves to the oil sands, separating oil, making the separation step easier, resulting in more removed oil, and reduced energy costs. Tar sands are mined and processed to generate oil similar to that pumped from conventional oil wells. Current methods have caused concerns about the environmental impact, including concerns about the amount of water used in the process, energy costs to operate the systems, runoff from the tailings ponds, wastewater from the facilities, and chemical residues in the water left over from the extraction process. Currently tar sands represent about 40 percent of Canada's oil production, and approximately 20 percent of U.S. crude oil and refined products come from Canada, with a substantial portion from tar sands.
Uses naturally occurring microorganisms -negligible toxicity -promotes rapid hydrocarbon breakdown -provides for oil recovery from existing waste products -minimizes environmental impact -survives in harsh environments -degrades complex petroleum products, heavy metals, and radioactive waste
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