Interview Reveals Delphi SOFC to be used for Oil Sands Recovery

06 Feb 2013

Geothermic Fuel Cell

In a recent interview with Driving Force Radio, broadcast on YouTube, Alan K. Forbes, President and CEO of Colorado-based Independent Energy Partners (IEP) explained how his company is working to improve extraction of oil sands using solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology. Its patented technology is known as the Geothermic Fuel Cell (GFC) and the company is partnering with Delphi to develop SOFCs which can be used underground in oil sands deposits.

Conventional oil sands production techniques either mine the sand, processing it above ground to liberate the oil, or in-situ methods bury ceramic heating cartridges which heat the ground, mobilising the viscous oil and allowing it to be pumped out. IEP proposes to replace these heaters with SOFCs, using their by-product heat to warm the ground. The SOFCs can be fed using natural gas produced by reforming the oil at the surface, and the unit will also produce electricity which could be used locally. The oil which is recovered can then be used in conventional ways. IEP claims its method produces seven units of energy output for every unit of energy input.

IEP is also partnering with TOTAL and is conducting research alongside Pacific Northwest and Idaho National Laboratories. IEP believes its technology has the potential to produce fewer carbon dioxide emissions than both current oil sands mining and conventional oil extraction.

The interviews can be seen online here: Episode One, Episode Two.

For more information visit IEP’s website.

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