Oil sands extraction innovator Acceleware gets $10mn funding for pilot test

The company's low-carbon EOR technology uses radio frequencies to heat water particles in reservoirs

Acceleware says its process is more environmentally friendly, cost-effective and takes up less land.
Acceleware says its process is more environmentally friendly, cost-effective and takes up less land.

Canadian energy company Acceleware announced today $10mn in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (STDC) and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA). The funding will allow Acceleware to complete a commercial-scale pilot test of its RF XL radio frequency heating technology at Prosper Petroleum's Rigel property.

As an electrically driven process, Acceleware also believes that RF XL technology can provide a clear pathway to zero-GHG production of heavy oil and oil sands. It uses radio frequencies to heat the water present in the rock formation, removing the need for outside fresh water and the usually costly heating process.

“Improving the sustainability of heavy oil and oil sands production is vitally important to the industry, and all stakeholders," said Geoff Clark, CEO of Acceleware. "It is through the application of innovative technology solutions, like Acceleware’s RF XL, that the industry can sustainably grow, responsibly develop resources, and ultimately benefit all Canadians.”

Acceleware has been advancing the development of its proprietary and patented RF XL technology since 2010.  It believes RF XL has the potential to save billions of dollars in oil sands production costs by reducing both capital and operating costs, while offering major environmental benefits, including immediate greenhouse gas emission reductions, a substantial reduction in land use, no requirement for external water or solvents and no tailings ponds. 

Under the terms of its previously announced agreement with Prosper, Acceleware will add new wells to an existing well site to expedite construction times and reduce project costs. Acceleware expects to complete the final engineering design for the pilot before the end of 2018 and anticipates the completion of all site upgrades and drilling during the first six months of 2019.

The company plans to test key operational aspects of the RF XL technology, including overall system efficiency and oil production rates. The initial heating phase is scheduled to run for six months utilizing a 2-megawatt silicon carbide prototype generator developed in partnership with General Electric. Acceleware owns the design and IP specific to this new generator which will improve power delivery, and cost per watt by a factor of ten times versus existing technologies. These performance and efficiency gains are key to RF XL’s potential to reduce operating and capital costs for oil producers. The first working module of the prototype generator is on-track for delivery and testing in November 2018.

The company says the pilot will cost between $16mn and $20mn, so it will seek the remaining funds over the next 15 months.

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