NAIT’s Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability launches program to improve sustainability of oil sands operations
Led by Dr. Carolyn Preston, newly appointed Suncor Applied Research Fellow in Measurement, Monitoring and Instrumentation
Dr. Carolyn Preston will lead a program to improve measurement and monitoring capabilities within oil sands operations, enabling industry to become more environmentally and financially sustainable.
As Suncor Applied Research Fellow in Measurement, Monitoring and Instrumentation, Preston is working with industry partners to measure and monitor the effectiveness of new and existing oil sands technologies, particularly in the areas of tailings and water management, important given the recent decline in oil prices and evolving environmental regulations.
This program will play a key role in developing and validating new technologies and products that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of oil sands operations.
This is a new position within NAIT’s Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability (formerly the NAIT Applied Research Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability, or NARCOSS). Preston will collaborate with NAIT’s Centre for Sensors and Systems Integration to test and validate new sensor technologies used to monitor oil sands operations.
Preston has spent more than 25 years working on new technology and innovation to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve water management practices, and enhance profitability in the oil sands, conventional and unconventional oil, and the mineral mining industries. Among her previous positions, she was director of the CH2M Applied Sciences Laboratory, executive director of both the Canadian Oilsands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD) and the Petroleum Technology Research Centre, and manager of external research and development programs and business planning at CanmetENERGY.
A registered professional engineer and professional chemist, Preston holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Engineering Chemistry from Queen’s University at Kingston and a Master’s and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Toronto.
Preston joins Andrea Sedgwick, Ledcor Applied Research Chair in Oil Sands Sustainability, at the NAIT Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability. The centre is a 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the art research lab in south Edmonton, staffed by an expert team of scientists, engineers and technicians who work closely with small and medium enterprises, as well as technology providers locally and around the world, to improve the market readiness of solutions for the oil sands industry.
Dr. Carolyn Preston, Suncor Applied Research Fellow in Measurement, Monitoring and Instrumentation
“It’s been my career-long belief that the oil sands are not only a very unique Canadian reserve, but also a strategically critical resource for North America. We need to make sure it’s a sustainable resource for the future. I look forward to working with organizations to enhance both economic and environmental performance through collaborative applied research projects.”
Dr. Neil Fassina, NAIT Vice-President Academic and Provost
“As one of Canada’s leading polytechnics, NAIT is at the forefront of applied research that addresses industry’s need for relevant solutions to the challenges they face. We’re grateful to Suncor for their support of this position and welcome Dr. Preston to NAIT. Financial and environmental sustainability of the resource extraction sector is essential to Alberta’s future.”
Center for Oil Sands Sustainability
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.