Strausz, Dr. Otto P.

1996 Winner: Innovation In Oil Sands Research Sponsored By Syncrude Canada Ltd.

Uncovering Secrets of Alberta Oil Sands Chemistry

Otto Strausz’s efforts have resulted in the chemical characterization of the Athabasca and Cold Lake bitumen to a greater degree than any of the crude oils throughout the world. His successful elucidation of the types of sulfur species present in these crudes is due to the application of sophisticated analytical techniques into the heavy oils found in Alberta. Dr. Strausz and his collaborators have developed novel methods for the isolation of sulfides from petroleum using Alberta bitumens, and shown these methods to be applicable to crude oils from throughout the Western hemisphere. No longer can it be said that heavy oils consist of an intractable mixture of millions of high molecular weight compounds.

Of his 356 technical research papers, 160 deal with the chemistry of Alberta oil sands. Dr. Strausz has also been commissioned by the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority (AOSTRA) to write a book on the chemistry of Alberta bitumens and heavy oils. Nearly complete, the book will comprise of about l000 pages, with 75% of the contents resulting from original research in Dr. Strausz’s laboratories at the University of Alberta. Internationally recognized for his results, Dr. Strausz has been invited to speak on numerous occasions at conferences in North and South America, Europe and Asia. He is a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada and the Inter-American Photochemical Society. In 1987 he received the Steacie Award in Photochemistry from the Chemical Institute of Canada.