COSIA has become a leader in open-source innovation, which is achieving major performance improvement in our environmental priority areas of water, greenhouse gases, tailings and land.

As the next chapter in innovation leadership, COSIA is taking the bold step of releasing all Innovation Opportunities which can benefit from broader, global collaboration. There are more than 60 of them, categorized by COSIA Environmental Priority Areas (EPAs).

If you're interested, sign up for our email list, follow our social media channels, submit an idea through our E-TAP system and check here regularly for more information. COSIA technical staff are also available to provide more information and answer specific questions.

Please contact us at or 403-444-4282.

What is an Innovation Opportunity?

COSIA's Innovation Opportunities provide focused, actionable descriptions of the current state of opportunities related to environmental processes and impacts of the oil sands industry.

  • We include desired outcomes without prescribing the means for reaching those outcomes.
  • The Innovation Opportunities include research and technology opportunities, from incremental - because the small things add up - through to the game-changers with the potential to propel industry forward.
  • Each represents a possibility that, if realized, would contribute towards the achievement of COSIA's environmental aspirations.

Who Do We Want to Hear From?

If you're an academic, researcher, innovator, inventor, entrepreneur, large company, or really anyone with an idea or potential innovation - we want to hear from you. After all, one never knows from where the next great idea will come.

How Do I Submit a proposal?

Have an idea? Submit a proposal through the COSIA Environmental Technology Assessment Portal (E-TAP).

Submit your ideas
Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse Gases

Quantification of Area Fugitive Emissions
COSIA’s GHG Environmental Priority Area Steering Committee is seeking transformative, cost-effective technologies to accurately and precisely quantify area fugitive greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands tailings ponds and mine faces.
Direct Hot Water Production for an Oil Sands Mining & Extraction Process
The COSIA Greenhouse Gas Environmental Priority Area has identified Direct Hot Water Production as a technology which could improve the environmental performance of mineable oil sands. New technology is sought which could replace conventional hot water production approaches, which use economizers or low grade steam, in existing mining operations.
Higher Value Use of Low-Grade Heat
COSIA’s GHG Environmental Priority Area Steering Committee is seeking technologies that create value from excess low grade heat resulting from Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) oil sands production and/or related surface facility operations.
Natural Gas Decarbonization
The COSIA GHG Environmental Priority Area (EPA) Steering Committee (SC) has identified natural gas decarbonization as an opportunity area in which to explore for technologies that will materially reduce oil sands GHG emissions. These technologies will partially or completely remove the carbon content of natural gas. The emissions associated with producing the decarbonized gas, plus the emissions from combusting the decarbonized gas, will be less than the emissions from combusting natural gas.
New Heat Exchanger Technology
COSIA’s GHG Environmental Priority Area Steering Committee is seeking technology which could replace heat exchanger technology in either new or existing thermal in situ operations.
Post Combustion CO2 Capture from Natural Gas Combustion Flue Gas
Activities in this opportunity will increase understanding of how to dramatically reduce the cost of capture, especially CAPEX, from diluted CO2 streams (<8 vol%), and how the most advanced and emerging Post Combustion Capture (PCC) technologies and processes can be economically applied to current oil sands production. Also of interest is the identification and development of promising early technology readiness level (TRL) processes and technologies for CO2 capture at a significantly lower cost (OPEX and CAPEX).
Enrichment of Combustion Air
Activities to close this gap will focus on decreasing the costs of oxygen enrichment technologies and improving their integration with oil sands facilities. Material energy efficiency improvements will also be targeted and could be achieved through lower energy intensity oxygen (O2) production.
Finding steam additives for SAGD performance improvement
COSIA’s members have identified ‘de-risking steam additives for SAGD performance improvement research priority’, which if realized, would help reduce the amount of steam needed per barrel produced.
COSIA’s members are seeking novel technologies that will improve Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) well performance in reservoirs impaired by Inclined Heterolithic Strata (IHS) layers.


Clay Chemistry Impacts on Permeability and Consolidation of Fines-Dominated Deposits
Improved understanding of the effects of clay types on permeability and consolidation of polymer-treated fine tailings, resulting in improved prediction of tailings processes, deposit modeling and adaptive management of tailings deposits.
Capping of Tailings Deposits
Refine existing methods and best practices and develop novel techniques for stabilization, capping, and reclamation of tailings deposits including CT/NST, thick fines-dominated deposits (TT, Centrifuge cake, polymer-treated FFT).


Technologies that Improve Existing Once Through Steam Generation Performance
Improve the design/operation of existing Once Through Steam Generators (OTSGs) to generate more injection steam and/or increase steam generator operating uptime, while improving water recycle, reducing disposal and reducing energy use/GHG intensity.
Online Water Hardness Analyzers
Improve in situ process monitoring through the collaborative improvement/development online analyzers, and analytical techniques/best practices, and in situ laboratory analytical methods, with the goal of improving the stability, utilization of in situ produced water treatment facilities.
Alternative Silica Removal Technologies
Develop new technologies to remove silica from produced water that also improve the operational performance (lower costs, improved reliability) and net environmental effects (lower GHG emission intensity, improved waste management) of oil sands in situ operations.
Passive Treatment Technologies
New or improved low-energy technologies that can effectively treat OSPW or highly saline depressurization water for return to the Athabasca River. The technology should be economical and require minimal energy and maintenance for long term operation. Passive or semi-passive treatment systems that detoxify OSPW have several advantages over active treatment systems like ozonation including lower net environment effect, lower costs and the ability to deploy during the active mining and reclamation phases of mine life.
Reliable Solvent and Non-Solvent Additives Measurement
COSIA’s members have identified ‘Reliable Solvent and Non-Solvent Additives Measurement’ innovation priority, which if realized, would help accelerate adoption of solvent technologies and dramatically reduce the amount of water needed and emissions per barrel of oil produced.


This innovation opportunity is forward looking, whereby in situ operators are focused on reducing exploration footprint across the oil sands region by focusing only on future projects or project expansions at existing project and doing the following:
a. Identifying and developing new zero- or low-footprint seismic technologies;
b. Evaluating life-cycle cost and benefit of new and existing tools and technologies; and
c. Developing and sharing footprint exploration reduction best practices.