Centre for Energy and Environmental Sustainability (CEES)

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Edmonton, Alberta
What the facility does

Aims to enhance the economic and environmental performance of Canada’s natural resource sectors.

Areas of expertise

The primary focus of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Sustainability (CEES) is to work side by side with third-party innovators and small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to screen, validate, scale-up, and integrate novel technologies and processes to address challenges in energy and mining industries.

CEES’s 12,000 sq. ft. fully equipped high-tech lab is staffed by an expert team of applied scientists, engineers, technologists and students. CEES staff work in collaboration with industry, post-secondary institutions, research and development organizations, and third-party innovators to remove barriers to technology innovation.

The main areas of focus are:

  • Tailings solutions (understand geochemical and geotechnical processes, rheology, understand and characterize each stream, validate chemical treatments)
  • Water quality solutions (in-situ, industrial, and mine water; water quality characterization)
  • Valuable resources recovery (hot water extraction, critical minerals, characterization)
  • Process optimization (pipeline transportation, crude oil quality (sediment and water))
  • Improve measurements (develop and validate instrumentation, improve QA/QC)
Research services
  • Applied research projects (grant-funded)
  • Fee for service projects
  • Technology validation/scale-up sample characterization
  • Consultation on funding mechanisms
  • Development of project scope
  • Proof of concept testing
  • Industry needs assessment
  • Customized/private training
  • Workshops, webinars, short courses
Sectors of application
  • Chemical industries
  • Clean technology
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Mining, minerals and metals
Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatograph with Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (UHPLC-QTOFMS)The QTOF is equipped with 3 different ion sources, electrospray ionization (ESI), atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI) and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) to enable a wide variety of samples to be analyzed. The UHPLC enables the separation of components in complex mixtures.
Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (MALDI-TOF)Capabilities include characterization of homopolymer and copolymer molecular weight distributions, composition and deconvolution of homopolymer and copolymer mixtures, hydrocarbon analysis quantification and characterization.
X-ray Diffractometer (XRD)Used for materials characterization such as crystal structure, physical properties of materials and thin film.
Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF)Capabilities include elemental analysis in different kinds of samples: solids, liquid or powder.
Atomic Force Microscope – Raman (AFM-Raman)Used to link the molecular information obtained by confocal Raman microscopy with the high-resolution surface information (structural and topographic surface imaging on the nanometer scale) acquired by AFM.
Thermal Gravimetric Analyzer (TGA)Utilized for thermal analysis in which physical and chemical properties of materials changes with temperature, such as decomposition, degradation mechanism, thermal stability, oxidation, combustion.
UV–Vis SpectrophotometerAnalyze a variety of samples by conventional spectroscopy but advanced techniques can be implemented using the fibre optic accessory
Bruker Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)FTIR with fixed path; attenuated reflectance and diffuse reflectance cells for the analysis of wide variety of organic compounds, films and powders. Measurement of naphthenic acid content in process affected waters.
Anton Paar SVM 3000 ViscometerUsed to measure the dynamic viscosity and density of oily samples and is equipped with a 48-position auto-sampler
Capillary Suction TimerCapillary Suction Time (CST) is a commonly used method to measure the filterability and the easiness of removing moisture from slurry and sludge in numerous environmental and industrial applications.
Dissolved and Total Organic/Inorganic Carbon Analyzer (DOC/TOC)Measures the amount of dissolved or total organic/inorganic carbon present in a liquid or water sample.
Gas Chromatograph (GC)

Four units specializing in sulfur, methane, and simulated distillation gas chromatography (GC):

•    Sulfur GC: Conduct detailed sulfur analysis. Capable of delivering quantitative sulfur results for light hydrocarbon matrices.
•    Simulated Distillation (SIMDIST) GC : Conduct simulated distillation on crude oil samples.
•    GC: General chromatography capabilities for hydrocarbon samples.
•    Greenhouse Gas (GHG) GC : Test samples for greenhouse gases.

Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS)Perform investigative chemistry work using mass spectroscopy. Able to identify samples with unknown constituents using mass spectroscopy.
Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) SystemInductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy is an analytical technique used for the detection of chemical elements.
Ion Chromatography (IC) SystemIon chromatography is a method for separating ions based upon their interactions with resin (stationary phase) and the eluent (mobile phase). Used for measuring major anions and cations in process affected waters.
Karl Fischer TitratorTitration method in chemical analysis that uses coulometric or volumetric titration to determine trace amounts of water in a sample.
CHNS Organic Elemental Analyzer (OEA)Determination of organic elements – Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Sulfur (CHNS) – by combustion and Oxygen by pyrolysis.
Specific Resistance to Filtration (SRF) apparatusUsed extensively as a measure of dewaterability.
BET Surface Area AnalyzerBrunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) analysis. Measure surface area of particles.
Benchmark S Heated Oil Centrifuge Designed for determining basic sediment and water (BS&W) content in crude oil or refined petroleum products on benchtops at indoor locations without Class I, Division 2 requirements. Fully insulated to prevent heat loss and allow for more accurate temperature control.
  • Canada Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA)
  • Alberta Innovates (AI)
  • Institute for Oil Sands Innovation (IOSI)
  • Ledcor Environmental Solutions Ltd.
  • Suncor Energy Inc.
  • Enbridge Inc.
  • RJ Oil Sands
  • Apex Engineering
  • Nalco Champion (Ecolab)
  • Conetec Investigations Ltd.
  • Switchable Solutions Inc.
  • Oil Sands Research and Information Network (OSRIN)
  • University of Alberta
Catalogue of Analytical Methods for Naphthenic Acids Related to Oil Sands Operations, OSRIN Report No. TR-21. 65 pp.https://era.library.ualberta.ca/public/view/item/uuid:dea94135-dfe8-41d0-b57a-6181e085be18
Summary of 2013 Tailings Technology Development and Commercialization Workshophttps://era.library.ualberta.ca/public/view/item/uuid:f4da3d45-4406-471b-b095-69c2442237f2
NAIT is re-launching its Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability with a new applied research chairhttps://www.jwnenergy.com/article/2016/4/nait-re-launching-its-centre-oil-sands-sustainability-new-…
NAIT Leading the Way for Oil Sands Wastewater Researchhttp://www.industryandbusiness.ca/development-and-innovation/nait-leading-the-way-for-oil-sands-wastewater-research
Andrea Sedgwick named Led Ledcor Applied Research Chair in Oil Sands Sustainabilityhttps://www.nait.ca/industry/news/andrea-sedgwick-named-ledcor-applied-research-chai
Trudeau on hand to open NAIT’s new Productivity and Innovation Centrehttps://www.techlifetoday.ca/articles/2018/trudeau-opens-productivity-and-innovation-centre
Support for clean water technologies to benefit the oil and gas industryhttps://www.nait.ca/industry/news/support-for-clean-water-technologies-to-benefit-th
NAIT: Improving methodologies in measurement could improve oilsands efficiencieshttps://www.jwnenergy.com/article/2016/8/nait-improving-methodologies-measurement-could-improve-oilsands-efficiencies/
CEES Newsletter (past publications)https://us1.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=f4da15b8cf8b07502b3fe8807&id=ece80ac8a5
Tech-Access Canada profilehttp://www.meetthetacs.ca/document/details/4f6b7864-46eb-4ea8-b68b-99082315dcaa
COSIA video on oil sands tailings managementhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFf3JxBz9B8