In the early 1990s, Syncrude developed a hydro
transport process to move oil sands. The innovation
was based on the OSLO Cold Water Extraction process.
The oil sand was transported on a conveyor belt
where water was added and the mixture was sent
through pipelines to the extraction plant. The
process was changed to make oil sand transport
flexible, faster, and cheaper than the Cold Water
process. The oil sand is dumped into a cyclofeeder,
a thirty-five metre tall crusher and add hot water.
This forms slurry that is sent through the pipeline
to the extraction plant at high speeds. A new
addition to this system is called “Natural Froth
Lubricity.” Using water from the mixture to create a
lubricating froth, the oil sand moves even faster
without having to dilute it further.
The benefit of the Hydro Transport System of
bituminous sands is that larger lumps of ore and oil
sand are broken down even before it reaches the
extraction plant. As a result, less energy is used
to separate the oil sand since the operating
temperature of the extraction being reduced to sixty degrees Celsius or less. This reduces the cost of
heating the water and the amount of fuel used, which
benefits the environment.