Innovation hub

Canada’s largest oil sands companies identify areas of pressing concern. We help innovators—academics, researchers, start-ups, inventors and others—advance promising solutions that can reduce environmental impacts in those areas.

What are innovation opportunities?

Innovation opportunities reflect the specific challenges Pathways members are looking to solve. Once these challenges are identified, an innovation opportunity is created to give innovators actionable descriptions of the current state of the industry and outline what members need from new processes and technologies.

We help innovators go further faster.

We bring together the best minds in Canada and around the world to tackle the toughest environmental challenges in the oil sands. Promising ideas are supported with expertise and help navigating the innovation ecosystem.

Greenhouse gases

Our GHG opportunities include heat exchanger technology, natural gas decarbonization, quantifying fugitive emissions, and more.


Our land opportunities are aimed at reducing exploration footprints at in situ operations. This includes developing new seismic technologies and sharing best practices.


Opportunities in our water EPA include improving steam generation, creating a better online water hardness analyzer and developing new ways to remove silica from produced water.


As part of our efforts to improve tailings management, we have issued innovation opportunities that seek to further our understanding of the effects of clay types on fine tailings as well as new ways of capping tailings deposits.

Who is eligible to submit an idea?

The short answer is: Anyone, anywhere who has an idea that can address one of our innovation opportunities. We work with:

  • Academics
  • Researchers
  • Start-ups
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Innovators
  • Large and small companies

Please have a look at our innovation opportunities to see if your idea might be a good fit.

If you have questions about your eligibility, drop us a line.

What to expect when you submit

Step 1

All submissions must be made using our Environmental Technology Assessment Portal (E-TAP).


COSIA reviews your submission and assigns it to the relevant EPA for further assessment.


We may contact you to request more information or clarification.


Submissions are reviewed by working groups, member companies and our steering committee before a final decision is made.

Innovation opportunities

Got an idea? Explore the current innovation opportunities to see where you can contribute.

Priority Area

Challenge Tags Details
Low Energy Treatment Technologies Water

New or improved low-energy technologies that can effectively treat OSPW or highly saline depressurization water for return to the Athabasca River. The technology should be economical and require minimal energy and maintenance for long term operation. Passive or semi-passive treatment systems that detoxify OSPW have several advantages over active treatment systems like ozonation including lower net environment effect, lower costs and the ability to deploy during the active mining and reclamation phases of mine life.

Download Challenge Brief
Alternative Silica Removal Technologies Water

Develop new technologies to remove silica from produced water that also improve the operational performance (lower costs, improved reliability) and net environmental effects (lower GHG emission intensity, improved waste management) of oil sands in situ operations.

Download Challenge Brief
Online Water Hardness Analyzers Water

Improve in situ process monitoring through the collaborative improvement/development online analyzers, and analytical techniques/best practices, and in situ laboratory analytical methods, with the goal of improving the stability, utilization of in situ produced water treatment facilities.

Download Challenge Brief
Technologies that Improve Existing Once Through Steam Generation Performance Water

Improve the design/operation of existing Once Through Steam Generators (OTSGs) to generate more injection steam and/or increase steam generator operating uptime, while improving water recycle, reducing disposal and reducing energy use/GHG intensity.

Download Challenge Brief

Ready to submit?

We welcome submissions that address our innovation opportunities and environmental priority areas. If you’re ready to share your idea, head to our Environmental Technology Assessment Portal (E-TAP) and tell us about your technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? Get in touch.