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By Marina Von Bergen, Director, Alfaluz

Although oil sands deposits are found around the world, the Athabasca deposit in Alberta is the largest, most developed, and uses the most technologically-advanced production processes. If you’re an in-situ or heavy oil producer (SAGD, CSS, or others), your challenge is to avoid requiring large amounts of diluent, water and chemicals, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs. If you’re an oil sands mining producer, one of your main challenges is to obtain higher profit margins from bitumen production without generating toxic tailing ponds. 

To address those issues head-on, Alfaluz set out to achieve something that had never been accomplished in the oil sands industry: Create a cost-effective system that quickly transforms heavy oils into pipeline-ready oil during the production process, with negligible environmental impact. 

Sound impossible? It was. Then we showed up. 

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell describes success as the result of multiple factors co-mingling to form a perfect storm of optimal circumstances and innovation. In the oil industry, such alchemy is a way of life. Circumstances such as the emerging embrace of ESG initiatives, paired with innovation, are the hallmarks of continued growth in the Canadian oilfield. Similarly, Alfaluz’s alliance with Scovan and other industry leaders represents the type of co-mingling and innovation that will propel the oil industry far into the future. 

To address the most pressing issues that Canadian heavy oil and oil sands producers face, Alfaluz is launching its cost-effective and 100% green in-line M-CRACK system. Alfaluz is an innovative engineering and manufacturing company bringing economical, green solutions to the production and commercialization of bitumen and heavy oil. Our process plays a key role in the emerging “blue economy,” and is so effective for SAGD operations that we call it our “blue SAGD” process.

The M-CRACK system is simple, consisting of the combination of special purpose equipment and our proprietary chemical Petromax®. The M-CRACK process reverses the charge of the particles in the crude oil emulsion. The resulting repulsion between oil, solids and heavy contaminants instantaneously breaks the water/oil and oil/water emulsion, leaving the solids free of oil, eliminating the H2S and separating the oil. The remaining salts and heavy metals then move to the water phase, and the remaining solids – including resins, asphaltenes, sulfur, crystalized paraffin, heavy metals and crystalized salt – are separated to a significant degree and drop out. In its complete configuration, the M-CRACK process is circular and carbon neutral.

The three outputs of our three-step M-CRACK system are: 

1. Clean water that is separated and recirculated within the M-CRACK system and the Central Processing Facility (CPF)
2. A lighter, more valuable and pipeline-ready commercial oil processed with negligible environmental impact
3. Cleaned solids

Key system benefits include:

Alfaluz’s Calgary-based team is collaborating with top-tier producers to make our next-generation solution the “shiny new object” that will quickly become the must-have tool in every heavy oil producer’s toolkit. Our alliance with Scovan and other innovators will help to transform the Canadian oil sands industry into a low carbon, high production, and low cost competitive powerhouse. 

Imagine a world in which tailing ponds are a problem of the past. Future-focused energy producers agree that green innovations are critical to the ongoing development of Canadian oil sands. The M-CRACK technology is not only disrupting the Canadian oil sands industry, but the technology is as green as it is innovative. To learn more, visit or contact Scovan Engineering.

Originally published in Scovan’s IGNITE Vol. 3