Civil engineering scholars have created a method that uses solar energy to accelerate pond reclamation efforts by industry and that means cleaning up oil sands tailings could be a lot greener.
Instead of using UV lamps as a light source to treat oil sands process affected water (OSPW) retained in tailings ponds, University of Alberta
professors Mohamed Gamal El-Din and James Bolton have found that using the sunlight as a renewable energy source treats the wastewater just as efficiently but at a much lower cost.
Oilsands tailings ponds contain a mixture of suspended solids, salts, and other dissolvable compounds like benzene, acids, and hydrocarbons. Typically, these tailings ponds take 20 plus years before they can be reclaimed.