EDITOR: | November 9th, 2013 | 1 Comment

Ducks praise new bitumen extraction technology.

| November 09, 2013 | 1 Comment

On the average it takes 3.2 barrels of water for every barrel of bitumen extracted in Alberta oilsands projects.

Because of this the sight of struggling ducks on tarry settling ponds has become the symbol of open pit oilsands mining, a process common among 20% of the Alberta oilsands projects. But ducks are quacking happily about a new waterless process developed by a MCW Energy Group Limited (TSXV: MCW), a Canadian company about to complete its first pilot project in Utah.keycomponents

Bitumen’s viscosity and sand’s refractory properties conspire against oilsand producers. On the one hand, bitumen is extremely viscous at room temperature:  try taking the asphalt out the pavement with a tablespoon. On the other hand, sand has tremendous packing and insulating properties:  it is hard to get heat to penetrate into a layer of sand.

Paradoxically it is easy, though time consuming, to separate bitumen from sand and clay:  dump a gallon of gasoline in a bucket full of oilsands, stir, wait a very long time to dissolve the bitumen, stir again, wait some more, and then decant the sand from the dissolved bitumen, evaporate the gasoline—keep away from open flames. But it proves a lot harder to make money from it and not singe your eyebrows irrevocably.

It’s easier to first soften up and float the bitumen with hot water, lots of hot water, followed by separation steps that include the use of an organic diluent (naphtha). This demands massive investments. In the oilsands narrative the economic threshold is $40 a barrel.  But what if new technology could eliminate water usage?

MCW has taken the gasoline and bucket principle to new heights in technical mastery.  Their patented process describes a new solvent and mixing strategies to completely dissolve bitumen. They replaced the bucket with a giant column (more or less a pipe) and found a way to push oilsand slurry from the bottom of the column while the solvent flows from the top. As the slurry moves up the column it mixes with the solvent on its way down, which permits a near complete dissolution of the bitumen.

MCW then distillates the solvents, which they recycle for the next round of extraction permitting a paltry 16: 1 ratio between energy returned over energy invested. By contrast, the Alberta oilsands project averaged a ratio of 5:1 between energy invested in 2010, a ratio that has improved from 1:1 in the 1970s to 3:1 in the 1990s.   According to Dr R.G. Baily, CEO of MCW, the process captures 99% of the bitumen from the oilsands with an economic threshold at $30 per barrel

MCW is currently completing its pilot plant in Utah with nameplate capacity of 250 barrels per day, though the final technology target is 1,000 barrels per day. Ducks have high hopes.shutterstock_10077268

Dr. Luc Duchesne


Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>

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    […] MCW Energy Group Ltd. (TSXV: MCW) was up +3.45% for the week on no new announcements. MCW Energy Group is a Canadian holding company, consisting of two primary operations, MCW Fuels and MCW Oil Sands Recovery, LLC. Established in 1938, MCW Fuels is one of the leading branded and unbranded diesel and gasoline distributors in western United States. MCW’s Oil Sands Recovery has a breakthrough, environmentally friendly, proprietary oil sands technology suitable for oil extraction purposes on all type of hydrocarbon deposits and has also been successfully laboratory tested using oil shale materials. InvestorIntel’s Dr. Luc Duchesne wrote a very interesting article about MCW Energy, entitled: Ducks praise new bitumen extraction technology. […]

    November 12, 2013 - 3:53 PM

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