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Karl Clark


Vern Hunter

Ted Link

Karl Clark

Karl Clark was born on October 20, 1888, in Georgetown, Ontario. A renowned chemist and oil sand researcher, Clark earned his Bachelor and Master’s degree from McMaster University and his Doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Illinois.

Early in his career, Dr. Clark focused his research on finding a solution for separating mass quantities of oil from tar sands. At the time, the pioneer work by other researchers was not practical. From using specialized washing machines to centrifuging the oil sands, early separation attempts ended in failure. In 1925, while working for the Alberta Research Council, Clark discovered a separation method that used hot water and a chemical reagent. In 1929, he patented his method of mixing oil sands, hot water and caustic soda in a large rotating drum. By steaming the mixture, and maintaining a high temperature, Clark found that oil readily separates from the sand.

In 1966, after years of research in which he perfected his separating method, Dr. Clark passed away. The multi-billion dollar oil sand industry continues to use his methodology. The method has changed little since Dr. Clark’s patent in 1929.

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