Zhenghe Xu

Zhenghe Xu

Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
University of Alberta

Chair title

NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Oil Sands Engineering

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2002


The growth of the oil sands industry is expected to move Canada from its present position as the world's eighth largest crude oil producer to the fourth largest by 2015. While the economic outlook is positive, there are some concerns regarding the sustainability of Canada's oil sands industry. The primary goal of the NSERC-Industry Research Chair in Oil Sands Engineering is to use a holistic approach to address three major concerns facing the industry: water management, land footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. This Chair program will look at these issues across the entire spectrum of bitumen production: bitumen recovery, bitumen froth cleaning and tailings management. To date, these aspects have been largely examined as discrete entities while, in fact, they are all part of a single process and should be examined holistically.

Through a comprehensive program of integrated projects, the Chair program will establish a scientific foundation for water-based bitumen extraction from oil sands. Areas of research in this chair program are built on Dr. Xu’s expertise in surface and interfacial science, mineral processing, water chemistry, flotation and coal cleaning. Fundamental understanding of bitumen processing will enable us to provide scientific leadership to the oil sands industry and to the relevant chemical suppliers community. We expect the results to be immediately applicable to oil sands production, resulting in new technologies that would improve the efficiency and minimize the environmental impact of oil sands development. The Chair program will also contribute significantly to the training of engineers and scientists in the fields of chemical engineering, colloidal science and mineral processing as applied to bitumen recovery.

With collaboration with the industrial partners, this integrated program of fundamental science will position Canada well to meet its future energy needs.


  • Syncrude Canada Ltd.
  • Suncor Energy
  • Shell Canada – Albian Sands Energy Inc.
  • Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
  • Forthills/Petro-Canada/Teck
  • Champion Technologies
  • Baker Petrolite Corporation
  • Nalco Canada Inc.
  • Alberta Energy Research Institute
  • University of Alberta

Contact information

Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
University of Alberta
ECERF - 7th Floor
9107-116 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T6G 2V4

Tel.: 780-492-7667
Fax: 780-492-2881


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