Model Calibration and Optimization of Oil Sands Tailings Electrokinetic Dewatering

Alberta oil sands mining operations have produced about 1 billion m3 of fluid fine tailings (FFT) stored in large "ponds" up to 10 km long and 4 km wide. FFT is a stable colloidal suspension that is forecasted to take decades to dewater if left undisturbed. The EKS-DT process, developed by ElectroKinetic Solutions, has the potential to be a cost-effective technology for dewatering FFT; understanding how the FFT properties respond to the EKS-DT process is a critical step in commercializing the technology. The EKS Model is a computer simulation program designed for this purpose. The proposed research will generate the data needed to improve the accuracy of the simulation. This information will be used to improve the efficiency of the EKS-DT process, bringing the technology closer to commercialization. Once commercialized, the EKS-DT process will enable Canada to reduce the significant environmental liability presented by the large FFT inventory.

Hilary Smith
Faculty Supervisor: 
Japan Trivedi
Partner University: