Shows that water alone gives a very poor separation (0% IL, but at concentrations greater than 50% the IL layer is clear and there are no sand particles in the bitumen layer.

IL/Water Mixtures

IL / Water mixtures
0% IL
25% IL
50% IL
75% IL


The founders of IL Fuels have developed a novel method for separating bitumen, oil, or other hydrocarbons from sand, soils, or other particulate matter through the use of ionic liquids (ILs). IL Fuels has determined that relatively inexpensive, biodegradable, non-hazardous ILs can be used in this process. They can be recycled numerous times through a closed system and significant savings (~50%) relative to current technologies can be achieved. The innovations introduced by this new technology are:

Oil Sands in a Test Tube

The technology can be used with a wide range of mixing and separation units (which many potential licensees may already have in-place) at scales ranging from the small to very large.

For more information on pilot-scale or demonstration scale units, please contact Paul Painter at