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“Cost Competitive Biomass-to-Liquids” Lignocellulosics and Low-grade Coals to Liquid Hydrocarbons via Hydrothermal Upgrading Technology Information Session

Oct 3, 2013
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Nexen Annex Theatre (+15 level)
801 - 7th Ave SW
Calgary, AB
This event is currently not open for registration.
Alternative Energy Solutions CO2 Enhanced Hydrocarbon Recovery Emission Reduction / Eco-efficiency Environment Environment - Water Environment: Ecological Integrity, Cumulative Effects, and Agriculture Heavy Oil Innovation Initiative Oil Sands Tight Oil & Gas


Steeper Energy’s Hydrofaction™ technology produces sustainable and renewable energy that can also play an important complementary role in existing petroleum infrastructure. Based on proven science and a commercially emerging technology, Steeper Energy aims to become a strong and sustainable ally of Alberta’s oil industry not only through the production of synthetic crude oil, but also the production of bio-diluents for use with heavy oil and bitumen transportation and liquid CO2 captured from the Hydrofaction™ process. Join us at this event for an overview of the technological process, an update on Steeper’s commercialization activities and an invitation to participate in the next steps of development.

Steeper Energy’s proprietary Hydrofaction™ process transforms organic matter to high energy density liquids via a catalytic supercritical water technology platform. The technology is currently being commercialized to convert biomass (wood and agricultural waste or energy crops) and/or peat or lignite coal into liquid hydrocarbons (middle distillates). After over a year of demonstration testing in partnership with Aalborg University in Denmark, Steeper is moving forward with the development of commercial-scale pilot facilities in Alberta.

Hydrofaction™ has many benefits over conventional and non-conventional oil production:

• High thermal efficiency (80% – 90%) – no energy used to dry feedstocks prior to conversion.
• Feedstock flexibility – including organic waste, biomass, manures, peat as well as low-grade coals like lignite.
• Product flexibility – as produced, Hydrofaction™ Oil is a slightly oxygenated bio-oil similar in form and function to marine diesel and can be upgraded through to transport-quality fuels, bio-chemicals and lubricants.
• Water footprint – conserves all water within the system cleaned to irrigation or potable standards.
• Carbon footprint – CO2 produced from the reaction can be captured and sold as a liquid.
• Efficient Capital Deployment – future commercial-scale plants have estimated build costs of under $70,000 per flowing barrel of oil per day, making Hydrofaction™ competitive with other unconventional petroleum options including Oil Sands, Heavy Oil and Shale Oil.
• Competitive – conversions costs are estimated to be range from $35/barrel to $40/barrel including depreciation thus Hydrofaction™ Oil could be produced for approximately $51/barrel for lignite to $78/barrel for biomass depending on feedstock source (projected production costs include depreciation allowance)
• Energy Security/Trade – can offer decentralized energy security and/or international export opportunities.


Dr. Steen B. Iversen, CTO, and Perry E. Toms, CEO, founded Steeper Energy ( in late 2011 bringing together a team with over 35+ years collective history in the exploitation of catalytic hydrothermal upgrading of low-cost organic feedstocks to high-value liquid and solid energy products.

Hydrofaction™ is a proprietary platform that converts low-energy density organic feedstocks such as biomass into a synthetic crude oil. This synthetic crude oil is closely related to a middle distillate with over 60% of its make up in the diesel/jet boiling point range. Other products in the mix include approximately 20% heavy gas oil and up to 20% paraffinic waxes bound to a small amount of nano-carbon. Hydrofaction™ fuel oil is very easily upgraded to diesel or jet fuel via common hydro-processing or can be used directly as a fuel oil in two-stroke diesel engines for marine or electricity production applications. Another particularly interesting opportunity is the possibility of producing large amounts of bio-diluent for heavy oil and bitumen producers in Alberta.

Hydrofaction™ uses a catalytic hydrothermal conversion using “super critical” chemistry. Super criticality is a state of matter achieved when a fluid, like water, is heated well beyond its boiling point, while being contained and pressurized. Any moisture inherent in the feedstock subjected to supercritical conditions becomes an aggressive chemical and physical force that, in presence of low-cost catalysts, aids in the transformation into synthetic crude oils. The process conditions allow for the selective removal of oxygen from the organic feedstock molecular structure thus increasing the carbon-hydrogen ratio of the resulting fuel oil.

Steeper has built and installed a continuous bench scale unit at the University of Aalborg in Denmark. This 15 kg/hr institutional scale Hydrofaction™ reactor and balance of plant was commissioned and is producing excellent results.

In Alberta, Steeper is proposing two projects:

a) A 10 barrel-per-day continuous pilot scale project likely to be situated in Edmonton.
b) A 1,000- barrel-per-day full-scale commercial facility to be located at either the Dapp Power Station in Westlock County or at one of several other potential locations.
Steeper is pursuing a private-public partnership or “P3” in order to own, operate and demonstrate commercial-scale projects and also make the hardware available to Alberta-based academics and industrial researchers. Partners will gain strategic and practical advantages in the application of hydrothermal upgrading, market opportunities and market data on products.


• Upgrading scientists and engineers
• Production engineers, directors, managers and advisors
• Green energy specialists, coordinators and managers
• Business development and technology investment managers and executives
• Government policy advisors and managers
• Regulators
• Experienced professionals interested in learning about new technologies


Please be advised that PTAC will charge $25 + GST to PTAC members that register and do not attend, unless notification of cancellation is received by PTAC a minimum of 24 hours in advance. It is necessary that we enforce this provision starting September 1, 2013 due to the increasing number of no shows.

Oct 03
11:30 AM Lunch
12:00 PM Presentation and Discussion
1:00 PM Networking
(Noon on Oct 2)
At Event
Non-Member $50.00 $75.00
PTAC Member FREE $25.00


Marc Godin, P.Eng.
Technical Advisor

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