The concept of RF heating has been around for decades - how are you different?
Through eight years of extensive research and development, Acceleware has worked to identify critical barriers that have prevented the commercial success of RF heating to date. These barriers include a lack of robustness to withstand the operating conditions required in the oil industry, excessive capital expenditures, and high system losses resulting in prohibitive operating costs. Our two technology platforms have been designed from the ground up to eliminate these barriers completely and allow for the most efficient use of low frequency energy to mobilize heavy oil and oil sands assets. The result is a low-cost, low-carbon path to produce these assets profitably and responsibly.
In contrast to other thermal enhanced oil recovery methods that use RF and/or electric energy, Acceleware RF technology is unique in its simplicity and efficiency. Acceleware has developed two technology platforms that rely solely on the use of RF energy to mobilize oil, use no solvent, and do not use center-fed dipole antennae. Compared to electric heating technologies that deliver heat to the formation through a heating element and then rely on conduction to distribute the heat through the formation, RF heats volumetrically which results in heat propagating through the formation more quickly and evenly.
For additional information, Acceleware's field test press release can be seen here.
What intellectual property does Acceleware have?
Acceleware has filed a number of patents related to RF XL and Modular RF since 2013. Our RF heating technologies are substantially and materially different than any technologies that have been disclosed by competitors and others in all public patents and known tests.
Acceleware also has a growing base of IP in the form of trade secrets which we protect through strict confidentiality procedures and agreements. We continue to develop and protect our intellectual property.
How can you be sure that you are not “cooking any trees?”
In any RF heating deployment, oil operators will provide complete dimensions and parameters of the oil bearing portions of the sub-surface in advance of production. Each RF heating system is then designed and deployed to ensure maximum operational efficiency and safety within those parameters. The result is that the vast majority of low frequency energy that is delivered to the pay zone is absorbed by the connate water existing within those preprogrammed dimensions. This water evaporates and becomes steam which in turn mobilizes the oil.
The amount of RF energy that reaches beyond the edge of the formation throughout this process is minimal - far below the safety limits established by federal agencies and regulatory bodies around the world. For example, at the end of the production cycle and when the steam chamber is at its largest (and the reach of the RF energy is at its greatest) the magnetic field generated by RF XL at the edge of the oil bearing formation is approximately 1/40th of the field generated by a hair dryer held 15 cm away while in use. The safety exposure limit for the public set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) for magnetic fields is almost 7 times that of the same hair dryer, so the RF energy at the peak of its reach underground is 285 times lower than the safety limit.
At that same point in time, the electric field at the surface for an RF XL system 200m below ground is 64 million times less than that of a 120 kV high voltage power line 10m above you. The ICNIRP safety limit for electric fields is 128 million times higher than the RF energy that reaches the surface.
How do you know that RF waves are not “leaking" from a site.
In addition to being well below ICNIRP safety limits, our RF power generation and delivery system utilizes multiple fail-safe layers of sensors that monitor surface RF signals and will shut down the system within milliseconds if any stray energy is detected. The technology is designed to completely prevent leakage not only to ensure safety, but also to ensure maximum efficiency in the use of energy to mobilize oil.