389849 Well to Wheel Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Transportation Fuels from Canadian Oil Sands

Monday, November 17, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Amit Kumar1, Balwinder Nimana2, Christina Canter2 and Md. Mustafizur Rahman3, (1)Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, (2)University of Alberta, (3)University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

A significant portion of the U.S. imports of petroleum crude oil comes from Canada. Production from Canada’s oil sands industry as well as the crude exports to the U.S. has been increasing substantially. Increasing environmental awareness to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and policies such as such as low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and European fuel quality directive demand appropriate quantification of GHG emissions in oil sands in comparison to conventional crudes.

This paper aims at an appropriate quantification of the life – cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for transportation fuels obtained from oil sands products- bitumen, dilbit and synthetic crude oil (SCO). This is achieved through development of theoretical engineering models to estimate the energy consumption in each unit operation – surface mining, steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), transportation, and upgrading in oil sands. This model has the potential to estimate energy consumption and GHG emissions for any specific project in oil sands based on the technical and operational parameters involved. The uniqueness of this model lies in its ability to predict the sensitivity of key project parameters and reservoir properties on energy consumption and GHG emissions. The results from this model have been validated with the results from published literature. This paper presents the estimated values of well to wheel life – cycle GHG emissions and contribution of each unit operation of transportation fuels, namely gasoline and diesel. The GHG emissions for transportation fuels range between 94.6 to 114.1 g/MJ of diesel and 102.2 to 116 g/MJ of gasoline, depending on the pathway of bitumen in oil sands. Vehicle emissions ranging from 69% to 79% are a major constituent of GHG emissions of transportation fuels. To address the needs of evolving oil sands industry in Canada, this project identifies GHG intensive areas and the opportunities for emissions reduction. This research adds to the knowledge base for comparing the GHG intensity of oil sands products to the conventional crudes imported in the U.S.

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