COSIA emphasizes oil sands’ contribution to Canada’s innovation economy at annual Performance Update

CALGARY, AB (October 18, 2016) – Member companies of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) have shared 936 distinct environmental technologies costing $1.33 billion, since coming together in 2012. COSIA held its fourth annual Performance Update on Tuesday, October 18, where chief executive, Dan Wicklum, shared the latest progress from COSIA’s extensive  project portfolio as it advances its goal of accelerating the pace of environmental performance improvements in Canada's oil sands.

“COSIA members are pushing the paradigm of sharing technology further than any other sector in the world by coming together as collaborators in innovation to solve environmental problems,” said Wicklum. “As Canada strives to shape and implement a national approach to climate change, we are developing and testing cutting-edge technologies, and leading in a true innovation-based economy by building on the global resource advantage we have with our oil sands.”

The strong collaboration demonstrated by COSIA’s members—representing 90 per cent of Canada’s oil sands production—allows the organization to draw on and combine technology expertise and innovation. The outcome is a wide array of projects, and results, which stand as examples of the steady transformation that is already underway.

“Some innovations are subtle and yield quick progress,” continued Wicklum. “Our efforts are driving a great array of meaningful environmental improvements, ranging from enhancing cogeneration of heat and power, to increasing waste heat recovery, and exploring new ways to accelerate reclamation of mine tailings. If you stack up the many incremental improvements you have real, substantive progress.” 

COSIA is also taking on unconventional projects with the potential to create entirely new, breakthrough technologies. Keynote speaker, Dr. Paul Bunje, Principal and Senior Scientist of the XPRIZE Foundation, shared his experience leading the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. The Carbon XPRIZE is a global competition motivating teams from around the world to uncover technologies capable of transforming CO2 into valuable, useful products.

“COSIA is demonstrating tremendous leadership in enabling innovation that can help produce a positive energy future while ensuring that our most pressing environmental challenges are met,” said Bunje. “The work and support of COSIA for the Carbon XPRIZE has meant that innovators from around the world have both a platform and the encouragement to attempt bold new feats of technological innovation.”

Bunje’s presentation at the event followed XPRIZE Foundation’s announcement of 27 semi-finalist teams advancing to the next stage of the US$20M competition. Nine of those teams are from Canada.

Dr. Bunje also joined a panel discussion with Rich Kruger, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Imperial, Dr. Henri Rothschild, President of the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation, and Dan Wicklum. Moderated by Calgary Herald business columnist, Deborah Yedlin, the panelists addressed the contribution of the oil sands to Canada’s innovation agenda and how COSIA's model of open innovation and active collaboration speeds up innovation timelines by finding solutions faster, through technology sharing and accelerated learning.

The event also featured updates on projects and key results from each of COSIA’s four environmental priority areas - greenhouse gases, land, tailings and water.

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About COSIA:

COSIA (Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance) is an alliance of 13 oil sands producers, representing 90 percent of production from the Canadian oil sands. Our vision is to enable responsible and sustainable development of Canada’s oil sands as a global energy source while delivering accelerated improvement in environmental performance through collaborative action and innovation in the areas of greenhouse gases, land, tailings and water.

Supporting Materials:

In 2016, COSIA companies:

  • Started 76 new projects worth CDN$219M
  • Completed 119 projects
  • Shared 113 technologies costing CDN$111M to develop

Media contact:
Kristen Ashcroft

For further information, please contact:

Eileen Kahler

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