MrEnergyCzar·Jan 18, 2013
This video is about defining what the Tar Sands are. Tar Sands are also known as the oil sands because it sounds like it’s actually oil but it’s not, it’s Bitumen, underground mixed in with sand. Bitumen is a gooey tar substance that, through massive efforts and refining, can eventually be made into oil. We don’t call corn ethanol gasoline, it’s corn ethanol which can be used later on as if it’s gasoline. The Tar Sands are mostly up in Alberta Canada where the Boreal forest is.
First you strip away the forest, you probably don’t hear much about that. Then you mine the sand underneath it. They use gigantic machinery and dump trucks, the world’s biggest dump trucks are up there. They use natural gas, electricity and lots of fresh water to mine the Bitumen, separate if from the sand, process and begin the multiple stages needed to turn the gooey Bitumen into a substance that can be made into oil and eventually refined into normal oil products like gasoline and jet fuel.
There are huge tailing ponds up there filled with all sorts of toxic discharge. It is one of the largest industrial projects in the world. Tailing ponds are gigantic, you can also see them from space. The Energy Returned on Energy Invested for Tar Sands is pretty horrible. It’s about 3 to 1. For every barrel you put in you get about three barrels of energy out. It is positive net energy, barely. A little bit better than corn ethanol. Regular conventional oil is down to about 10 or 20 to 1. It used to be 50 or 100 to 1. We’re not going to run our society on 3 to 1 or even 5 to 1. That is what Tar Sands is about.
Garth Lenz: The true cost of oil
TEDxTalks·Jan 9, 2012
What does environmental devastation actually look like? At TEDxVictoria, photographer Garth Lenz shares shocking photos of the Alberta Tar Sands mining project — and the beautiful (and vital) ecosystems under threat.
For almost twenty years, Garth’s photography of threatened wilderness regions, devastation, and the impacts on indigenous peoples, has appeared in the world’s leading publications. His recent images from the boreal region of Canada have helped lead to significant victories and large new protected areas in the Northwest Territories, Quebec, and Ontario. Garth’s major touring exhibit on the Tar Sands premiered on Los Angeles in 2011 and recently appeared in New York. Garth is a Fellow of the International League Of Conservation Photographers.
Filmed at TEDxVictoria on November 19 2011
How the tar sands produce dirty coal
by Ian Angus
Ever heard of petcoke? It’s nasty climate-destroying stuff, left over from refining tar sands bitumen. It’s sold as coal, but it’s cheaper and dirtier, so it helps keep coal-fired plants running and destroying our atmosphere.
This is the Executive Summary of Petroleum coke: The coal hiding in the tar sands (pdf) published this week by Oil Change International: