Water Technology Development Centre


What if industry could drive the development of new water treatment technologies for the oil sands further and faster with less risk and less cost? That’s exactly what the Water Technology Development Centre (WTDC) aims to achieve. An outstanding example of industry collaboration, the $140 million WTDC is the first demonstration site of its kind in Canada for technologies to be tested on a commercial scale.

The WTDC began operations in August 2019. The project’s goal is to enable development of water technologies to improve our environmental performance in water, land footprint, waste, and greenhouse gases impacts. A number of innovative technologies with this goal in sight are being tested in the facility.

The WTDC is attached to Suncor’s Firebag Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) central processing facility, 120 kms north of Fort McMurray. It allows Suncor and its project partners, Canadian Natural, Husky and CNOOC, to share expertise, risk and costs of developing new technologies and shorten the time required to move them to commercial application. The collaborative project was convened under COSIA. 

“The WTDC allows the partner companies to test more technologies than each could on their own,” says Michelle Squires, Manager, Operations Technology Development at Suncor. “Using a dedicated facility like this also removes the risk and disruption of testing in live production facilities.”

One of the key features of the 5,000 square metre facility is that it provides direct access to live process fluids from the Firebag facility. This allows for above ground in situ technologies testing, at the temperatures and pressures experienced in normal operation, ensuring representative results from the test program. Test fluids can also be trucked to the WTDC from other operating sites. 

Take a tour of the Water Technology Development Centre.                                                        

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