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Research Facilities

The Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering houses extensive and unique research laboratories and facilities:

  • Reservoir Simulation and Visualization

    High end computers power a reservoir simulation lab, the ENCANA Parallel Processing Facility and the Schlumberger iCenter. The 32 CPUs, configured in parallel, enable large geostatistical and reservoir simulation studies. The iCentre is a 3D Immersive Visualization facility where the four 8' x 10' screens allow investigators to be immersed in a reservoir simulated with Schlumberger's Inside Reality.

  • Applied Catalysis Applications

    Equipment for the preparation, characterization and testing of catalysts enables researchers to undertake investigations of catalysis for heavy oil upgrading and environmental applications.
    New methods of in-situ and field upgrading of heavy oils and bitumen using nano-dispersed catalysts is being studied. Research is ongoing into the field production of hydrogen from asphaltenes in place of natural gas and naphtha.

  • Analytical Chemistry Laboratories

    These well equipped laboratories have Capillary Electrophoresis, micro Gas Chromotograph, HPLC, Sulphur and Nitrogen Analyzer, Supercritical Fluid Chromatograph and TOC Apparatus for analysis of solid and liquid samples.

  • Porous Media Imaging Facilities (part of PMPT)

    Low field NMR is used to characterize oil sands and emulsions, and to study soil contamination, and water uptake in soils. CT scanners allow researchers to visualize multiphase flow in core samples.

  • ENCANA Hydrocarbon Production Laboratory (part of PMPT)

    Research focuses on optimization of hydrocarbon recovery, including cold heavy oil production of foamy oil; post cold production using water, polymers or chemical floods; and conventional enhanced oil recovery (EOR) using immiscible gas, polymer enhanced foams and gels using lab scale models and sophisticated analytical equipment.

  • Amoco Air Injection/In-Situ Combustion Facility

    The in-situ combustion process holds much promise for increasing recovery efficiency from conventional and heavy oil reservoirs while reducing water consumption and atmospheric emissions. The unique pilot-scale capability is used to investigate process phenomena and evaluate in-situ combustion performance.

  • Gas Hydrates Laboratory

    Researchers study gas hydrate thermodynamic properties and formation / decomposition kinetics using particle size analyzers. They develop numerical models to evaluate the viability of using hydrate to sequester CO2 and the potential of natural gas production from hydrates.

  • Process Control and Simulation

    Pilot plants that include amine absorber and stripper, azeotropic distillation and extraction columns and multi-effect evaporators, enable researchers to design and model advanced instrumentation and control systems.  

  • Flow Modelling Laboratory

    High end computers are used to conduct full nonlinear simulations of fluid flows.

  • Environmental Engineering Laboratories

    These well-equipped laboratories have viscometers, rheometers and thermal conductivity probes to study dispersion, containment and bioremediation of pollutants in soil, water and air. Reaction times can be measured in milliseconds with the stopped flow apparatus.

  • SAGD/VAPEX

    Partially-scaled physical SAGD and VAPEX models facilitate studies to optimize recovery and reduce water requirements. Researchers investigate well configurations, steam additives and scale-up methods from laboratory to field conditions.

  • Asphaltenes and Emulsions Laboratory

    Research involves oilfield flow assurance issues including asphaltene precipitation and deposition, emulsion treating, and oilsands froth treatment. This lab has a PVT cell with solid detection, state-of-the-art surface science apparatus, and a pilot-scale deposition flow loop.

  • Advanced Materials Laboratories

    Rotational molding and fused deposition molding (FDM) face similar challenges relating to material diversity, applications of end products, molding cycle time, and physical property optimization. Research focuses on improved understanding of the physical properties of materials.

  • Hydrocarbon Properties Facilities

    Numerous instruments and apparatus have been developed to study thermodynamic, thermophysical and transport properties of heavy hydrocarbons and crude oils and their mixtures. PVT cells capable of pressures up to 20,000 psi are extending the knowledge of phase behaviour of complex mixtures.

  • Unconventional Gas Facilities (part of PMPT)

    Optimizing the recovery of natural gas from Coal Bed Methane (CBM) through enhanced recovery methods is investigated using CO2 injection.

  • Pharmaceutical Production Research Facility (PPRF)

    This state-of-the-art laboratory specializes in research related to animal/mammalian cell and tissue culture and protein expression using insect cells. This level II biosafety facility has pilot-scale bioreactors, molecular biology equipment for cloning and protein analysis, along with cryopreservation facilities. The laboratory focuses on neural stem cell production for treatment of such diseases as Parkinson's and Diabetes.

  • Husky Energy Bituminous Materials Research

    The laboratory is a focal point for research, product development and materials testing for the asphalt industry in Canada. The importance of asphalt research has increased due to the growth in motor vehicle traffic and the rising costs of road construction and maintenance.