Bringing Smart Minds to Tough Environmental Challenges

There’s an old cliché that says something like: ‘If you want to go fast, then go alone. But if you want to go far, then go together’.

There’s an old cliché that says something like: ‘If you want to go fast, then go alone. But if you want to go far, then go together’. My first six months at COSIA has made it clear that when it comes to tackling greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts, you can have both – go faster AND go farther – when you go arm-in-arm together. 

COSIA’s eight shareholders are competitors in the Canadian oil sands, and they spent 2019 as they have spent every year since COSIA’s formation: working closely together, sharing intellectual property, and innovating technologies to improve the environmental performance of the oil sands. We have seen some encouraging results: for example, GHG intensity reductions of 21% (2009-2017) and fresh water use intensity reductions of 46% for in situ operations (2012-2019). 

But there is much more work to be done. Canadians have high expectations of the oil sands and indeed all Canadian industry when it comes to environmental stewardship. 

In the Canadian oil sands, as in other major industries in all parts of the world, it is going to take innovation and close collaboration to develop the solutions that will significantly reduce our environmental footprint. The solutions for reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts aren’t anywhere near simple enough to be solved on Twitter or fit on protest placards and billboards. The technical challenges being tackled by Canada and its oil sands are complex, often requiring equally complex technological solutions.

It will take Canada’s best and brightest – from industry, government and academia – working closely together to crack these tough technical challenges. That’s what COSIA does and we’re good at it. So, this year, we’ll be working hard to expand our circle to a widening number of scientists, researchers and other innovators from across Canada and around the world. The more smart people we can bring to these challenges, the faster we will be able to resolve them.

Together, COSIA’s members have developed hundreds of technologies. Our innovations range from rifle tubes, which lower greenhouse gas emissions from steam generators, to GHGSat, a satellite launched by COSIA members to orbit the earth and monitor emissions from oil sands operations. We are up to some incredible things. And there’s more on the way. 

We’re really looking forward to how far and how fast we can go in 2020!

Wes Jickling
Chief Executive COSIA

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