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government through the University of Alberta’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the primary area of focus of the “NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Oil Sands Tailings Water Treatment” is to develop proactive water management strategies to dramatically reduce the footprint and environmental impact of existing tailings ponds operations.
The Canadian Oil Sands are the second largest deposit of oil in the world. Extracting oil from the Oil Sands creates high volumes of contaminated water (between 2 and 4.5 barrels of water to produce one barrel of synthetic crude oil), currently discharged in “tailings” ponds, sometimes for years, to separate the solids from the liquids for eventual recycling or safe discharge into the environment.
With Canadian oil production estimated to increase from 1.9 million to over 6 million barrels of oil a day over the next 20 years, the released water from oil sands operations is estimated to reach one billion cubic meters in the Athabasca oils sands region by 2025. An innovative solution that can reduce the water treatment time, and thus the overall footprint and environmental impact of the tailings ponds, is required for Canada to meet its production goals.It is widely believed that the future of oil sands exploration, its social and economic contribution as the second largest oil reserve in the world, and its contribution to the public good of both Canada and the Unites States, hinges on industry's ability to manage the wastewater in tailings ponds.
In addition to BioLargo, the new Research Chair is sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), as well as a number of related researchers and industry stakeholders that include world-leading oil companies and the regional water district for the Province of Alberta.
“We are honored to be part of this important work for Canada and the United States,” stated BioLargo President and CEO Dennis Calvert. Ken Code, the company’s Chief Technical Officer added, “The Chair objectives are perfectly aligned with our goal to improve the quality of life for people worldwide, while we work to protect the environment, and produce positive economic results for our customers, partners, and stockholders. We look forward to serving with the other founders.”
About University of Alberta’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Professor Gamal-El Din
Dr. Mohamed Gamal El-Din, head of the new Research Chair, is a Professor with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta. His expertise and research in the area of water and wastewater treatment places him amongst the top scientists in the world. He has been published in peer-reviewed journal a substantial number of times, and written and presented extensively on these subjects. In 2005, he received the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award and was the recipient of the Alberta Ingenuity New Faculty Grant in Alberta. In 2008, he was awarded one of the 2008 NSERC Accelerator Discovery Grants. Dr. Gamal El-Din has been acting as an editorial board member for the Ozone Science & Engineering Journal and has been also acting as a reviewer for many referred journals. He is a current member of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), American Water Works Association (AWWA), International Water Association (IWA), International Ozone Association (IOA), International UV Association (IUVA), Water Environment Federation (WEF), Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA), and Egyptian Syndicate of Civil Engineers.