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Energy from Tar Sands Oil, Pros & Cons

renewables, climate change, Geothermal energy, wave power, energy market, pros and cons of Geothermal, Solar Power, Wind Power, Thermal Power

The discharge that accumulates in highly toxic waste ponds pose a huge threat to wildlife.

In the United States a large supply of oil sands are found in Eastern Utah. These deposits of bitumen or heavy crude oil have the ability to generate about 12 to 19 billion barrels from a number of prominent sites. Canada also has oil reserves op 170 billion barrels. The Canadian government has invested heavily in the use of Carbon Capture and Storage for the tar sands recovery process, but this technology is yet unproven and very dangerous.

Chemicals

The process requires also vast amounts of water and chemicals to wash the sands. The discharge that accumulates in highly toxic waste ponds pose a huge threat to wildlife.

Pros

  • Very large supply. Second largest oil field in the world.
  • Economically recoverable
  • Less than 5 percent has been produced.
  • GHG emissions could potentially be minimized through CCS

Cons

  • Enormous GHG emissions. Oil sands are already Canada’s largest source of CO2 emissions.
  • Relatively low net energy return compared to other sources
  • Large amounts of water required: roughly 3:1
  • Water pollution. Roughly 3 million gallons of toxic runoff per day
  • Destructive to major boreal forest
  • Widespread habitat destruction, both on land and water
  • Requires expensive and risky pipelines

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