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Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Alberta Energy Research Institute Collaborate to Develop Gasification Technology


CANOGA PARK, Calf.- Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI) of Canada announced they are working together to develop advanced gasification technology aimed at decreasing the cost and environmental impact of processing Alberta’s unconventional oil resources. This collaboration could open up clean, affordable supplies of oil to help satisfy the world’s demand for petroleum for the next 100 years. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.

Under the agreement, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will demonstrate its technology by gasifying petroleum coke, a waste product extracted from oil-saturated sands. It will also develop conceptual plans and estimate the cost to construct a commercial-scale demonstration plant in Alberta.

“This collaboration is a perfect fit for both parties,” said Jim Maser, president, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. “Just as AERI is committed to reducing the cost and environmental footprint of using Alberta’s oil resources, we are committed to making clean gasification technology more available, affordable, reliable and efficient.”

Alberta’s oil sands, stretching over an area larger than the state of Florida, hold oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia. The sands contain vast deposits of bitumen: thick, molasses-like oil that requires processing before it can be used as a conventional energy source. Gasification converts petroleum coke into synthesis gas, which can be used to produce hydrogen, steam, and electricity to drive the oil sands production and upgrading process.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s gasifier is about one-tenth the size of competing systems, and offers the potential to be more efficient, reliable and affordable. It is also expected to reduce the cost of carbon dioxide capture and sequestration and thereby decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

“This collaboration with AERI and Alberta companies will expedite technology development and commercialization,” said Jim Hartung, Energy Systems director, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. “The strategic input and financial support provided by AERI will ensure that our technology meets the needs of Alberta companies.”

“The Alberta government has made a significant commitment toward advancing the development of new technologies in areas of strategic importance to the sustainable development of Alberta’s energy resource,” said Dr. Eddy Isaacs, executive director, AERI. “Substantive technological innovation will be needed and we are pleased to work with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne on the development of these advanced gasification technologies.” AERI is the strategic energy technology arm of the Alberta government in the Ministry of Advanced Education and Technology. Its mission is to enhance the development of Alberta’s energy resources through investment in research, technology and innovation in partnership with industry.


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