Land Innovation Opportunities

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.

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. Each represents a possibility that, if realized, would contribute towards the achievement of COSIA's environmental aspirations.

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.



Promote Wetland Formation Conditions
Understanding conditions that promote wetland formation will enhance opportunities for wetlands to occur &/or control their location, allow for more accurate accounting of wetlands expected on the closure landscape and potentially respond to the Alberta Wetland Policy where applicable.
Reclamation Pads Within Wetlands to Uplands
We have reclaimed uplands in the past in both oil sands and conventional, but we need to better understand the potential effects of leaving multiple pads in place within former wetlands. Possible unique areas of focus for oil sands pads will be the presence of geo-textile material, soil physical and chemical constraints, lack of organic soil amendments, as well as lack of salvaged sub-soil. The spatial distribution of multiple pads and roads will require study to understand the effect on hydrology.
Better Techniques on Species of Management Concern
Improved monitoring methods has potential to reduce monitoring costs and to reduce business risks posed by SAR if detection and inventory methods are improved. It is likely that some species that are thought to be at risk are more common than current records indicate. Development of methods to improve detection and inventory of species that are elusive or occupy habitats that are difficult to survey would improve our knowledge and reduce business risks. These technologies could also be used to improve the accuracy of presence/absence surveys prior to development.
Predicting Caribou Habitat Restoration Performance
Land development has encroached on the natural habitat of the woodland caribou, a species that has been identified to be sensitive to change and identified as threatened under the SARA. Ongoing effort is required to better understand population and habitat dynamics of caribou in the boreal forest. Woodland Caribou have been closely linked to Oil Sands projects because of declining populations and a traditional habitat preference that is coincident with the locations of many existing and planned in situ oil sands developments.
Optimizing of Planning for Footprint Reduction
Refinement of current methods for augmenting caribou populations Caribou recovery management tools that are designed to increase population numbers in the wild. Specifically, population tools including the following: large (10s-100 km2) multi-decadal fenced enclosures; small (10’s ha) temporary (several months) maternity pens; captive breeding (zoo) with translocations; and wild-to-wild translocations.
More Efficient and Effective Monitoring Methods
Effective resource management and oil sands reclamation specifically is dependent on reliable information on biophysical states, often across extensive geographical areas. New methods, or alternative applications of existing methods for gathering information, can (i) provide valuable information previously not available, (ii) collect similar information that is more reliable, or (ii) reduce the costs of collecting information., or (iv) collect the information in a more timely manner.
Improve Non-Tree Propagation
The out-planting success (survival and growth) of non-treed species on reclaimed land is highly variable and not well understood. The scope of this Challenge is large; it includes the acquisition/storage/germination of propagules, treatment and growing conditions in the nursery, choice of container system, inoculation of materials with nutrients/fungi, and the establishment technique/site conditions and timing of deployment of the plant.
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.