Home / 2016 Conference Abstracts

2016 Conference Abstracts

2016 Conference Abstracts


The New Volute Screw Press: Applications in Fine Tailings Dewatering

Chen Wang
Chen is a Ph. D. student from the University of Alberta. His research focuses on the treatment of oil sands mature fine tailings. He obtained his B. Sc. degree in chemical engineering co-op from the University of Alberta. He had internships with Canfor pulp mill in Prince George, B.C., Shell Research Center in Calgary, as well as Shell Albian Sands in Fort McMurray. Chen was inspired by the “birds landing in tailings pond” incident back in 2008 and he is determined to solve the tailings issue in the oil sands industry. His publications include, but not limited to, a review paper in Minerals Engineering about fine tailings treatment, as well as a method to reduce the dosage for a class of cationic polymer flocculants in Energy & Fuels.

Rapid, efficient, and economical water removal from Canada’s oil sands tailings, especially fines-dominated tailings, has been a challenging task to date. In the absence of large-scale fine tailings processing facilities, there will be an escalating accumulation of such waste material in containment areas, which requires careful, extensive, and often costly measures for hazards mitigation.
In this work, we briefly present a two-stage process to dewater oil sands fine tailings using a volute screw press. Dual-polymer flocculation is applied first to feed tailings, which effectively eliminates all suspended solids in the slurry. The product slurry was introduced through a series of inclined circular steel rings (volute plates), and carried upwards by a central auger screw. Unobstructed and self-cleaning spacing between all volute plates ensures unhindered supernatant exit, however sufficiently large solid flocs were retained and compressed by the screw. Field test work at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. with a prototype volute screw press has shown dry stackable products of ~60 wt% solids can be constantly and reliably produced at a rate of ~5 kg dry solids/hr.
We believe the new application of the volute screw press opens an exciting and promising path to processing the vast amount of fresh and legacy oil sands tailings that have plagued the industry for decades.


On Stream Clay measurement

Brent Hilscher
Since graduating in 2000 with a Mineral Processing Engineering Degree, Brent Hilscher has had a wide range of career experiences: operations leadership, project management, technology development and senior consulting.
Brent was a senior engineer for over 3 years at Syncrude’s extraction operations. He led projects and optimized recovery of bitumen. He played a key role in Syncrude’s technology development group for another 3 years. He made an impressive contribution, with 6 invention disclosures, and 3 patents.
Brent’s research includes: Super-critical fluid extraction, Controlled cavitation extraction, MFT tailings treatment methods, Bitumen recovery from tailings, and enhanced naphtha recovery
Brent was chairman of the Alberta Canadian Mineral Processors in 2011-2012.
In 2013 Brent received the prestigious Bill Moore Special Achievement Award at the National Canadian Mineral Processors Conference.
Brent has published many papers, consulted for the World Bank, and co-authored a paper for NASA. Brent is currently managing director for Sacre-Davey Oil sands engineering. While at Sacre-Davey Brent patented the use of prompt Neutron gamma activation as a way of predicting fluctuations in extraction feed grades.

Currently, the oil sands industry is facing challenges with predicting variability in the clay content in their operations to maximize the production. Prompt gamma neutron activation analysis (PGNAA) is one of the solution in determining the composition of the oil sands. Using PGNAA, the operation will now be able to predict the amount of clay, water, oil, and sand on the conveyor belt. A microwave sensor can also be installed in series with the PGNAA sensor to determine the moisture content in the oil sands.
The presentation explains a unique method to calculate the specific types of clay minerals present for any operation. This method of determining the constituents of oil sands using PGNAA and microwave technology has been patented by a Vancouver (BC, Canada) based company named Sacré-Davey Engineering. The presentation provides a case study of the application of PGNAA and microwave analyzers as well as an example of the patented method.


In-line Visualization of Multi-Phase Flow Topology in Pipelines using Wire Mesh Sensors

Tayfun Aydin
Tayfun Besim Aydin obtained B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in aerospace engineering from Istanbul Technical University in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Later in 2014, he finished his Ph.D. degree in also aerospace engineering at the University of Toronto, where he focused on the flow control strategies to mitigate the flow induced vibrations of bluff bodies in cross-flow. Close to his graduation from the University of Toronto, he started to work at the University of Tulsa as a Research Associate in late 2013. During his work in Tulsa, he conducted research on gas/liquid two-phase flows in laboratory scale pipelines within various joint industrial projects with companies from the oil and gas sector. In particular, his work focused on the use of advanced flow diagnostics such as wire mesh sensors. In late 2015, he started to work for Coanda Research and Development Corporation as a Research Engineer in Edmonton. Tayfun has over 10 years of experience in experimental and analytical research in fluid mechanics spanning a wide range of topics from single phase separated flows to multiphase internal flows. He has published journal articles and conference papers in these topics and is an active reviewer in some of the scientific journals.

Understanding on the multiphase flow topology is a key factor to determining the in-situ flow pattern, which is crucial for flow assurance purposes. Furthermore, real-time knowledge on the flow topology can give valuable information to the operators experiencing performance deficiencies. Combined with the practical challenges of optical access into the industrial pipelines, this presentation brings forward a potential tool for the in-line flow visualization of multiphase flows. The presentation initially introduces wire mesh sensors (WMS) followed by several examples of active research applications in two-phase gas/liquid flows such as low liquid loading and slug flows in addition to the sand slurries using WMS. While most of the presented research comes from author’s past experience at the University of Tulsa, some of the results are provided by the researchers at HZDR (Germany). Lastly, a recently developed concept on the industrial WMS is presented together with experimental validation of flow pattern identification schemes.


Surface Miners in Oil Sands

Alex Bagnall
Alex Bagnall is the Manager of Mine Engineering at Canadian Natural Resources Limited’s Horizon Oil Sands mine and bitumen upgrading facility. As a mining engineer whose career spans some 30 years in Mine Operations, Mine Engineering and Government, Alex has worked in iron ore, coal and copper/gold. The last two decades of his career have been spent in Fort McMurray’s oil sands, with the most recent ten years at Canadian Natural.

Truck and shovel mining in oil sands is a mature technology. Particular geographies and geologies have led to investigation of alternative methods. One such method, use of a surface miner, has been investigated by Canadian Natural Resources Limited. The presentation discusses what a surface miner is, how it fits into the overall mining landscape, what opportunities it presents and how is has performed so far.


NIR Online Process Composition Measurement in Suncor Extraction and Tailings

Enbo Feng
Enbo Feng (P.Eng.), completed his studies for B.Sc. (1978-1982, Chemical engineering), M.Sc.(1982-1984, Mathematics). M.Sc.(1987-1989, Chemcial enginnering) and Ph.D (1989-1991, Advanced process control). During 1991-1996, he worked in Tsinghua University as Associate Professor, National University of Singapore as Research Fellow and University of Alberta as Reseach Fellow. Since 1997 Enbo Feng has been working for Canadain industry for 20 years in several companies, such as Celanses Canada Inc., Shell Inc. Petro-Canada, CNRL and Suncor Inc. His experiences include advanced process control and optimization, continous improvement, industrial big data and NIR applications for petro-chenmical processes. Now he is the Lead Advanced Process Control in Suncor Upgrading.

This short presentation gives an overview of the principle, engineering implementation and applications of spectroscopic measurements technology, such as NIR (near infrared), FTIR (Fourier transform infrared), Raman and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance). The discussions are focused on oil sands industry in which the process majorly consists of the mining, slurry hydro-transport, extraction, froth treatment and upgrading plants.


Microbial Soil Reeds Technology Process Effected Water Treatment

Nathan Ashcroft
Nathan Ashcroft is a professional engineer with almost 20 years engineering, project management and business development experience in the energy sector. His career started with the global engineering, procurement and construction company, Bechtel, where he spent over 10 years working construction and expansion projects in the UK, Middle East and India. In 2005, Nathan moved to Calgary, and has worked in the oil sands sector ever since. Following engineering and project management roles with Bantrel and AMEC, Nathan co-founded his own company, which focuses on developing technologies and businesses in and for the energy sector. Some of the current clients are Stantec, the Government of Alberta and Oceans-EWS. Nathan is an ardent believer that innovation is changing the face of the oil sands industry, and continually looks for ways to do things differently and bring people together for success.

OCEANS-EWS are global leaders in Microbial Reedbed Systems (MSR). Reed beds are an environmentally sustainable method for the treatment of process affected water. As well as being beneficial for wildlife, they are often significantly more cost effective than the equivalent mechanical systems and are easier to operate and maintain. Reed beds are very efficient at treating a wide range of different effluents including affected water, leachates, run-offs, contaminated groundwaters, industry waste waters and mixtures thereof.
Our large scale Produced Water hydrocarbon treatment systems can clean in excess of 50,000 m3 of process affected water every day, with integrated downstream beneficial use/recycling for irrigated forestry/agriculture.


Dual Bubble Generator in a Flotation Column

Vitalii Dodonov
Vitalii Dodonov is a third year undergraduate Chemical Engineering student at the University of Alberta. In addition to his studies, Vitalii has been working in a research group led by Dr. Zhenghe Xu since January 2016. His projects include work with an induction timer and a flotation column. During the summer, Vitalii has created a MATLAB code which allowed to improve image analysis for the bubble-view apparatus used with the flotation column. His method provided better insight on the bubble size distribution compared to methods used in the past.

Froth flotation is versatile method for separating particles based on the difference in the ability of air bubbles to attach to different surfaces. Froth flotation is a crucial technique in mineral and oil sands extraction. Efficiency of the process leads to significant financial savings. Bubble size and distribution of bubbles in the flotation column is one of the main parameters affecting the efficiency of the process. University of Alberta has a designed a Dual Bubble Generator featuring production of both micron size and flotation size bubbles as well as their immediate coalescence. The device was tested on gold extraction and showed 5% – 15% increase in Au recovery for a given Au grade. Current objective of the project is to verify the efficiency of the Dual Bubble Generator in oil sands extraction.


Keynote Presentation – “Update on National CMP”

Scott Martin
Scott Martin is currently the Sales & Marketing Manager for Progressive Rubber Industries. He is responsible for the sales and marketing efforts that support Progressive Rubbers wide network of reps throughout Western North America. Scott previously held various sales manager positions at Outotec and Tenova. Scott graduated with a bachelor of Engineering Degree from the University of Western Ontario. In his spare time, Scott enjoys fishing and is a member of the Hakai Land and Sea Society as well as an avid golfer.


Sampling…Why Bother?

Tod Martens, Israel Gamboa

There will be a hospitality area open after the conference hosted by Benchmark & Sentry.


Dual Polymer Treatment for Oil Sands Tailings Using Dynamic Mixers

Colin Klien
Colin Klein obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the U of A in 2009. In 2014 he obtained a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, with research focused on Oil Sands tailings treatment, also at the U of A. In 2014 he joined SNF as a Technical Service Representative where he has worked on the application and development of flocculants for treatment of oil sands tailings.

A new polymer assisted oil sands tailings treatment technology has been developed by SNF. This technology consists of treating tailings with anionic polymer, followed by cationic polymer, utilizing dynamic mixers to optimize flocculation of the tailings. This process produces flocculated tailings with superior dewatering characteristics as compared to the currently implemented single polymer treatment technology. The results obtained showed that in addition to increasing water release and final solids content, dual polymer treatment showed superior performance when used in thicker deposits. Furthermore, release water chemistry was unaffected by dual polymer treatment, allowing release water to be immediately recycled for reuse. Based on these results, dual polymer treatment shows significant promise in improving existing tailings treatment processes.


Cyber Security Programs for Oil & Gas and Mining Operations

Paul Haughey
Mr. Haughey completed Telecommunications Technology at NAIT. He holds over 30 years of experience specializing in Industrial Control System engineering, design, programming and commissioning on a variety of systems. He has worked on engineering and system integration projects in the following industries: Oil & Gas, Oil Sands, Pipeline, Manufacturing, Off Shore, Water/Wastewater Treatment and Food and Beverage. He was part of the first SAGD installation in Alberta. Additional expertise includes: SCADA, safety systems, data management systems, business analysis, software development, embedded systems and Cyber security. He has taught DCS night classes at SAIT. Paul has started two automation companies over the past thirteen years. He is currently working for BBA in Calgary as a Senior Project Manager and Technical Specialist.

According to a report from the World Economic Forum1, cyberattacks and failure of critical infrastructures are identified as being among the highest risks for which North America is the least prepared. Ever since the Stuxnet virus was discovered in an ICS facility, a series of similar incidents has affected industrial installations. To confront these significant challenges, new, specially designed standards have been created to protect Industrial Control Systems. Developing and implementing Cybersecurity programs is essential to protecting critical infrastructures and requires extensive experience with various industrial control systems (PLCs, DCSs, HMIs, RTUs, IEDs, real-time systems, industrial networks, historians, SCADAs, etc.).
In this presentation we will provide an overview of some of the key Cybersecurity concepts. More specifically a description of how a Cybersecurity program can be implemented in an Industrial control system environment will be explained. We will also provide some real examples of how some Industrial control systems have been compromised in an Industrial environment. The risks from cyber security breaches that companies face today are real and multiples. These breaches can cause failures that can impact the company operations and professional careers.
Securing a company’s operations from cyber security threats has become a business imperative. This is now a recurring agenda item for upper management levels and risk management committees.


Oil/Water/Soild Separation and Tank Cleaning Systems

Paul Blake
Paul Brake is a mechanical engineer who has worked in most primary industries including mining, refining, smelting, oilsands, wastewater and pulp & paper, with three decades of combined industrial and engineering experience. Starting out in mining in Manitoba, Paul joined the Canadian Armed Forces as an electronics technician. He then returned to civilian life as and worked as a steel fabricator for a decade in manufacturing before obtaining his engineering degree at the University of Victoria. Currently he is the Engineering Manager at RJ Oil, a company dedicated to providing economically sound, technically advanced environmental solutions for industry.

With the current economic conditions, industry has been forced to re-evaluate our methods. We need to reduce costs while increasing productivity. RJ Oil and RJ MacLean offer a solution. With a combination of non-entry, automated cleaning and remediation systems, patented technology, recycling and reuse of water, hydrocarbon recovery, and custom configurations of our equipment, we reduce client costs, time, risks and waste.


Big Data Disrupts the Process Safety Mindset

Greg Lingelbach
Greg Lingelbach is a results oriented professional with over 30 years of diverse business experience in the energy sector. He is an Electrician by trade, Electrical Engineer by profession and has held numerous Leadership positions in Maintenance, Operations, Engineering and Projects. His last role in the Fort McMurray oil sands was the Utility Plant Director on the Suncor site.
Greg’s passion for safe operations and asset integrity was transformed into the world of Process Safety over the past 10 years. Today he leads a group of innovative young engineers as President for ACM Facility Safety in Calgary.
Greg is excited to make a difference in the Process Safety world by exploiting Big Data Analytics and using Benchmarking and Predictive technologies to disrupt the process safety mindset.

Process Safety @ your facility: Why is it important?
Where are your “pain points” when it comes to Process Safety?
Emerging trends in Data Analytics
PHA Analytics
Safeguard Analytics
Recommendation Prioritization
Critical Safeguard Analysis
Safe Operating Status (SOS) Field Audit


Benefits of Lime as a Coagulant in Oil Sands Tailings Treatment Processes

Baki Ozum
Chemical Engineer, M.Sc. University of Ankara (1967); M.Sc. (1971) and Ph.D. (1974), University of Virginia, USA.
Taught Chemical Engineering at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey; Visiting Professor at Queens’ University, Kingston, Ontario (1978-1979 and 1980-1981) before joining to the Alberta Research Council Edmonton, Alberta (1981-1994). Since 1994, he is with Apex Engineering Inc., Edmonton, Alberta.
His research interest covers energy processes and environmental technologies, including thermal bitumen and heavy oil recovery, bitumen upgrading, bitumen extraction and tailings disposal processes.

Treatment of tailings produced from the Clark Hot Water Bitumen Extraction (CHWE) process has been challenging. The combination of sodium accumulation in process water and fine clay particles in tailings ponds have made their reclamation difficult. Processes like whole tailings treatment and non-segregating tailings have been proposed to reduce the formation of Fluid Fine Tailings (FFT) that are sent to these ponds. Reclamation techniques such as tailing reduction technologies and tailings centrifugation are being considered for existing ponds. With most of these techniques, a coagulant and/or flocculent is used to agglomerate the fine particles and facilitate dewatering.
Lime (calcium hydroxide) can provide many benefits as a coagulant in oil sands tailings applications. Past work has demonstrated the potential for the use of lime in the treatment of a variety of tailings process streams. Current work focusing on a deeper understanding of the role lime can play in tailings treatment is explored. Recent data related to the use of different types of lime and their effect on tailings process water chemistry, pH, yield stress and clay particle size will be presented. Exploration of in-situ treatment of mature fine tailings ponds will also be discussed.