A Note from Acceleware CEO Geoff Clark
Hi everyone, here’s a few thoughts on what is happening at Acceleware as we head into Autumn, 2023. I have just returned from participating in The Future of Clean Tech panel discussion at the United Nations General Assembly #UNGA78 Science Summit. The role and contribution of science (and technology) to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was the central theme of the Summit. I was honored to have been invited by the Innovation Asset Collective to discuss wide ranging issues affecting the development of clean technology from a Canadian perspective and, of course I did take the opportunity to get our message out beyond Canadian borders. My take-aways from the summit were numerous, but at the top of the list: 1) how imperative Acceleware’s work on the electrification of industrial heating for heavy emitting industries is, and 2) how time is of the essence if we are going to meet the UN’s climate related SDGs by 2030. This week it was back home, continuing work on all that Acceleware is doing, by far the most important being our RF XL pilot at Marwayne, Alberta. Work on the pilot is progressing, and an update is warranted.
We re-commenced our workover in August after extensive testing and evaluation of all components and tooling required for the last steps of the project. Since then, we have made good progress but are delayed a few weeks due to a tooling malfunction that occurred sub-surface. While the tooling was extensively tested in the shop, subsurface conditions are complex and difficult to simulate precisely at the surface. Upon inspection and analysis post-malfunction, we have determined that some subsurface components have sustained damage as a result of the tool malfunction. The engineering team has developed a method to repair the components in situ, which will be once again fully tested in the shop. In addition, we have made modifications to our procedures to ensure we don’t have a repeat of the initial incident. We are currently fabricating and testing new tooling and expect to be back out at site in the coming weeks. I am frustrated by the delay, as is the rest of our team. However, we must remember that this is the nature of a ground-breaking research and development process that accompanies commercialization efforts. We have to keep in mind that we are working on a prototype and doing things that have NEVER been accomplished before, working on world firsts, literally. Setbacks should be expected, if not always initially accepted. Ultimately, they mean we’ve learned more about a specific component, and that we are resolving an issue that won’t have to be dealt with again. It is progress.
As most readers are likely aware, we began our work on RF XL 13 years ago, back then and more so now, we believe our technology can be a vital low-carbon, low-cost heat source for thermal oil production not only here in Alberta and Saskatchewan, but wherever heavy oil and bitumen is produced globally. Oil isn’t going anywhere overnight - the IEA says that the earliest peak in oil demand will occur after 2028. Most oil in Canada, and much more elsewhere, is produced thermally so it makes so much sense to ensure the production heat sources are as clean as possible, now. Why not eliminate the source of CO2 emissions rather than relying on unproven and expensive carbon capture and storage to abate them after the fact?. What other technology holds the capability to do what RF XL can do for heavy oil or oil sands production: drastically lowering greenhouse gas emissions, materially reducing capital and operating costs, eliminating fresh water use, and reducing land footprint? Sure, it’s a brand-new way of approaching heavy oil production and to some, that may seem implausible, but with the right industry support and the right decision makers backing us, we believe that RF XL can become an absolute game changer for heavy oil production. Now is the time to make bold moves and enable rapid progress. In our opinion, the initial results we have seen at Marwayne show us that RF XL works, we just need additional operating time to show longer term performance.
Beyond helping to decarbonize heavy oil and oil sands production, what we have been able to show at Marwayne tells us that we can use our knowledge, and the CTI, to help decarbonize other heavy-emitting industries that depend on heating. Acceleware intends to aggressively pursue decarbonization on a very broad scale, globally. Rest assured we are going to focus 100% on RF XL and the Marwayne pilot, but with the other 10% of our time we can take on the estimated 10%-15% of global GHGs that come from industrial heating processes. The more emissions we can reduce, and the more we can improve the economies of each, anywhere in the world, the better. Decarbonization through electrification is necessary if we are to have a hope of meeting the UN’s SDGs, by 2030, or even 2050. Let’s get going!