Alberta Taciuk Process

The Alberta Taciuk Process (ATP) technology provides a high-performance pyrolysis solution for the extraction of organic components from solids. The technology is applied to large-scale oil production from mined hydrocarbons, environmental applications such as soil remediation and renewable products from consumer waste, as well as niche processing of hydrocarbon-rich source materials to produce specialty products.

The ATP Processor is a continuous flow pyrolysis system, based on a horizontal rotary kiln platform available at unit capacities ranging from 5 tonnes to 250 tonnes per hour. The processor integrates ore drying and preheating, pyrolysis (retorting) and combustion in a single rotary machine. Organic components are anaerobically distilled and pyrolysed from the host solids and then recovered as hydrocarbon liquids, gases, and solids. Peripheral systems, including the oil recovery plant, flue gas treatment, as well as feed and discharge solids handling, are provided to support the central processing unit.

The Alberta Taciuk Process was developed and commercialized by UMATAC Industrial Processes. UMATAC was acquired by thyssenkrupp in 2010. tkIS Canada is the center of competence for the ATP technology.

High Performance Pyrolysis

The ATP Processor stands out due to its high separation efficiency (removal of organics from the solids) and excellent yields (recovering hydrocarbons for sale/reuse). Main features of this heavy rotary-machine-based system are: processing the feedstock in a single machine, high thermal efficiency, flexibility in dealing with changes in ore quality and moisture content, and process energy supplied by spent ore heat content. High mechanical reliability comes from proven tkIS machine designs. The ATP Processor is scaled and configured to suit individual requirements of each project.  For detail of the ATP technology, the reader is directed to our publications.

Unlocking primary resources

The ATP has a long history with mined primary resources such as oil sands and oil shales (kerogen). Reference oil shale projects include the Stuart Energy demonstration plant in Australia, 4500 bbl/d, and the Fushun Mining Group commercial plant in China, operating since 2012. For these resource applications the ATP has a number of advantages. The feedstock is processed in a single machine with high thermal efficiency. The oil product is similar to that of a refinery fluid coker and is amenable to upgrading. The ATP produces a dry, hydrocarbon free tailings ready for disposal or return to the mine. Process energy is generally supplied by the spent ore’s heat content, i.e. via combustion of the char.

Environmental and specialty product applications

Today there is a focus on green and circular production processes which avoid or recycle waste. This is an active area for the ATP technology.

The ATP Processor can produce and recover liquid hydrocarbons and chars from post-consumer products (e.g. rubber, plastic, shingles, asphalt, etc.). The recovered products can be reintroduced to the economy as renewable fuels and as recycled inputs to new good manufacturing.

The ATP also has an established capability in soil and waste remediation. The first commercial scale applications of the ATP were for industrial use mainly to clean up pesticide, PCB, tar and oil contaminated sites in North America, including four U.S. Superfund sites.

Further applications for the technology include pyrolytic processing of coals to lower their volatile content and produce specialty tars and technical oils.

thyssenkrupp ATP offerings

ATP Licensing and Technical support

thyssenkrupp Mining Technologies licenses the use of the ATP Technology. We develop project specific system configurations and process designs, then execute the detailed design, procurement, and supply of the ATP System equipment. Once the ATP System is constructed, tkIS Mining provides technical support for training, start-up and operation of the ATP plant.


tkIS Mining Technologies offers its clients EPCM capabilities and a proven technology portfolio across mineral processing, oil extraction/pyro-processing, and material handling.

We operate an engineering office and research laboratory in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to support continued development of the ATP technology as well as to investigate new applications for processing candidate feed materials. Calgary staff engineer and support both pilot-scale and commercial-scale implementations.

Research and Development Centre

tkIS Mining maintains our research and development centre and laboratory also in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This facility is equipped with bench scale test equipment that are used to carry out ore assays, feedstock assessments, and thermal process testing.

Products from these tests are analyzed for quality and environmental characterizations to assess the potential use of the ATP System and to develop the basis data for ATP process plant and equipment designs.

We are also able to offer customized testing programs to meet specific client-developed objectives.

ATP Reference Plants

The Fushun Mining Group (FMG) operates the East & West Open Pit coal mine, one of the largest mines in the world.

Oil shale lies above the coal deposit and is mined as overburden. FMG selected the ATP for the processing of the fine oil shale ore generated in their crushing operations.

Design and construction of the first FMG ATP plant was completed in 2010. The facility has a rated oil shale processing capacity of 1,750,000 tonnes/year and produces 108,000 tonnes/year of product hydrocarbons.

FMG also operates legacy oil shale plants. These older plants cannot process a significant fraction of the oil shale (after crushing, +/-20% of the oil shale particles are too small for the vertical retorts), are inefficient, and have some challenges with environmental performance.

The Stuart Energy Demonstration Plant was the first large scale ATP with a rated throughput capacity of 6000 t/d of feed shale, producing 4500 bbl/d of oil. The purpose of the Stuart Energy R&D project was to demonstrate and prove the ATP technology for oil shale processing, as a basis for larger plants to be built at commercial scale.

During the course of the demonstration program, the Stuart plant processed 2.6 million tonnes of shale and produced 1.65 million barrels of saleable product oils. The Stuart ATP Processor achieved design oil yield and operated above nameplate throughput capacity.

Stuart proved out the process scale-up and identified improvements which were integrated into the improved Fushun design.