Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability

The Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability (COSS) is a state-of-the art research lab staffed by an expert team of applied scientists, engineers and technicians.

The centre was founded through a $1.5 million endowment from Ledcor Group and seed funding from NAIT, establishing the Ledcor Applied Research Chair in Oil Sands Environment Sustainability. With additional funding from key industry partners like Suncor, as well as federal and provincial funding, the centre carries out applied research, pilot testing and technology development designed to meet the needs of Alberta’s oil sands industry.

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What we do

We bridge the gap between existing oil sands environmental research and relevant solutions, taking your innovative ideas from bench to scale-up. We work with your business and industry to develop technologies that improve the economic and environmental performance of the oil sands industry.

Our Projects

We aim to validate innovative oil sands technologies developed by companies and explore new bitumen recovery technologies.

Meet the Team

Our amazing and highly qualified team of scientists and specialists helps meet the needs of industry and Albertans

Advancing Industry Solutions

We are focused on developing applied research solutions to separate clean water from oil sands tailings.

Work with us

To date, we have received more than $6 million in applied research funding and have been instrumental in linking oil sands operators and business innovators in the following areas:

  • Tailings management – working with our partners to  remediate tailings ponds and slow their growth
  • Water technology – working with our partners to reduce the use of freshwater and improve water treatment, management and disposal
  • Emissions – working with our partners to  find  solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Value chain optimization - working with our partners to develop value-add products from existing streams
Oil Sands Centre

Working with Industry 

Oil Sands Industry

Our focus

  • Technology screening and verification
  • Validation and development
  • Prototypes
  • Optimization
  • Scale-up and demonstration

Our approach

  • Identify strategic customers and partners who have a clearly identified set of challenges or issues they are looking to solve
  • Work with technical and corporate customers, partners and innovators to develop tailored solutions with clients
  • Obtain additional funding from the public sector if required to reduce investment risk from customers
  • Promote awareness of the Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability's capabilities and solutions throughout the industry and engage key strategic partners to provide unique solutions to these challenges
  • Work with partners to put into action commercial pilots to help them to convert pilots to sale and to utilize pilots as a public demonstration of the centre's capabilities to local market players

Intellectual Property

The Centre does not maintain or commercialize intellectual property. The Centre's role is to facilitate commercialization of new products and solutions so industry and its partners can benefit.

Our Commitment to Safety

At the Centre, we are committed to having a safe workplace for all of our staff, researchers, and visitors. We believe that safety is a top priority.


  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • Alberta Innovates

Our Equipment

  • X-ray Diffractometer (XRD)
  • Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF)
  • Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatograph With Quadruple Time-of-Light Mass Spectrometer (HPLC-Q-TOF-MS)
  • Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer
  • Atomic Force Microscope – RAMAN (AFM-RAMAN)
  • Avanti J-26XP Centrifuge
  • Thermal Gravimetric Analyzer (TGA)
  • Particle Size Analyzer
  • Metro Carbon Residue Analyzer (MCR)
  • UV-VIS Spectrophotometer
  • Bruker 450 Gas Chromatograph
  • Bruker Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)
  • Anton Paar SVM 3000 Viscometer
  • Ion Chromatography (IC)