The Emissions Reduction Alberta program has awarded over $58 million to innovative projects that range from leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to measure and locate methane emissions to new approaches to convert natural gas to hydrogen.
The Alberta government’s program announced its commitment of $58.4 million for the 20 projects which are valued at $155 million. The companies are finalists in the ERA’s Natural Gas Challenge, which is funded by the carbon price paid by Large Final Emitters in Alberta through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund.
Steve MacDonald, CEO, ERA said some of the winning projects “will have an immediate impact by improving the performance of the natural gas sector’s existing operations and others are accelerating transformative opportunities, like hydrogen production, that can change the face of the industry.”
MacDonald along with Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks, Jason Nixon, and Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity, Dale Nally, announced the finalists of the Natural Gas Challenge on Tuesday at the opening of the Maximizing Funding Potential Workshop, presented by ERA and Alberta Innovates.
The Natural Gas Challenge was launched in October 2019 and was open to projects involving technologies at the pilot, demonstration, or first-of-kind commercial deployment stages. ERA’s selection committee reviewed 117 submissions and of these, twenty projects were selected based on their potential to unlock innovation across Alberta’s natural gas value chain, from production to the end consumer.
Projects announced include:
Methane Imaging Solution for Continuous Leak Detection and Quantification for Tank Emissions and Facility Monitoring by MultiSensor Canada Inc.
Total project value: $3,200,000 | ERA commitment: $1,600,000
Permanent installation and demonstration of an infrared camera at 100 well sites to provide continuous leak detection and quantification for tank emissions and facility monitoring.
Emissions Reductions Through Artificial Intelligence by Qube Technologies.
Total project value: $16,200,000 | ERA commitment: $4,000,000
Deployment of an industrial device designed to collect large quantities of data to use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to better quantify, locate, and classify emissions.
UCalgary-Canadian Natural Fugitive Emissions Pilot Study: Field-Scale Deployment and Acceleration of Made-In-Alberta Technology for Fugitive Emissions Detection and Reduction by University of Calgary.
Total project value: $3,200,000 | ERA commitment: $1,600,000
Full-scale, field pilot of a new vehicle-based technology designed for equipment-level emissions screening to support effective regulatory leak detection and repair.
Canadian Natural Fugitive Emissions Study Using Aerial Detection Technology by CNRL.
Total project value: $1,900,000 | ERA commitment: $927,000
Pilot project of both aerial screening technology and ground-based detection at conventional oil and gas facilities to validate technology performance and inform a broader Alternative Fugitive Emissions Management Program (FEMP).
Multi Component Downhole Injection System by Challenger Technical Services.
Total project value: $2,600,000 | ERA commitment: $1,000,000
Development, testing, and validation of a multicomponent downhole injection system that uses epoxy resins to rapidly seal leaking oil and gas wells and eliminate surface casing vent flow.
Affordable Zero-Emission Fail-Safe Electric Dump Valve Actuator (EDVA) Phase 2 by Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada.
Total project value: $2,200,000| ERA commitment: $550,000
Applied research, prototype design and development, and field pilot testing of an electrically-driven valve actuator that is more compact, powerful, and lower maintenance than alternative pneumatic options.
Kinitics Valve Actuator for Gas Producers by Kinitics Automation Limited.
Total project value: $1,100,000 | ERA commitment: $552,000
Testing a novel electric actuator at 15 well sites in Alberta to validate the technology as a cost effective, technically viable alternative to eliminate venting from established pneumatic devices.
Unlocking EPOD Economic Zero Bleed Pneumatic Instrument Air Retrofit Solution by Westgen Technologies Inc.
Total project value: $4,000,000 | ERA commitment: $1,300,000
Demonstration of a solar-hybrid power generation system for remote well sites to provide reliable electricity to prevent gas venting from pneumatic devices in a cost-effective manner.
Demonstration of a Full-Scale Multilateral Junction Assembly by Modern Wellbore Solutions.
Total project value: $12,100,000 | ERA commitment: $3,500,000
Full-scale deployment of a multilateral junction tool assembly that will allow natural gas operators to drill, complete, and operate multibranched wells for unconventional reservoirs. The technology reduces emissions by enabling lateral junctions rather than requiring separate wells.
Natural Gas Mobile Unit for Drilling Rig Power Generation by Tourmaline Oil Corp.
Total project value: $7,989,000 | ERA commitment: $3,200,000
Pilot demonstration of a plug and play, mobile power generation system for drilling rigs that uses smart energy to automatically start and stop generators to match the power demand of the rig.
Fort Saskatchewan Hydrogen Blending by ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd.
Total project value: $5,700,000 | ERA commitment: $2,800,000
Pilot project to test hydrogen blending in ATCO’s Fort Saskatchewan natural gas distribution system. The project will source and test equipment and determine applicability of existing codes, standards, and legislation.
Development and Field Testing of a Tri-Generation Pyrolysis (TGP) System for Low-cost, Clean Hydrogen Production by Ekona Power Inc.
Total project value: $13,800,000 | ERA commitment: $5,000,000
Prototyping a new approach to converting natural gas to hydrogen and a solid carbon by-product representing a new pathway to produce zero-emissions hydrogen, electricity, and other products by decarbonizing natural gas.
A New Wave in Hydrogen Production by Standing Wave Reformers Inc.
Total project value: $8,200,000 | ERA commitment: $3,000,000
Design optimization, system integration, pilot demonstration, techno-economic analysis, and advancement of commercial deployment plans for a technology system to decarbonize natural gas.
ATCO and Future Fuel RNG by ATCO Gas and Pipelines
Total project value: $15,900,000 | ERA commitment: $7,900,000
First-of-its-kind commercial demonstration to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) to be sold and used within the province in Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fleet vehicles and commercial applications.
Co-Locating Natural Gas and Indoor Agriculture for Alberta’s Future by Sustainitech Inc.
Total project value: $17,862,298 | ERA commitment: $5,000,000
Design, construction, and operation for a first-of-kind commercial deployment of a modular farming system that combines automation, hydroponics, adsorption cooling, and advanced lighting to grow crops.
Greenest Natural Gas-Powered Quad-generation with a 41% GHG Reduction by Enersion Inc.
Total project value: $3,800,000 | ERA commitment: $1,800,000
Technology that uses natural gas to generate electricity, cooling, and heating in an integrated package for multiple applications, including industrial, agricultural, commercial, and residential sectors.
Demonstration of Thermally Driven Heat Pumps for Residential Heating Applications by Stone Mountain Technologies Inc.
Total project value: $1,972,510 | ERA commitment: $986,250
Design and prototyping of technology that uses natural gas to drive a heat pump cycle. Unlike electrically-driven heat pumps, the technology is ideal for cold climates.
Turboexpander Project by Anax Power
Total project value: $6,200,000 | ERA commitment: $2,400,000
Installation and operation of technology that provides clean, distributed electricity from the pressure and flow of natural gas without combustion.
Advanced Dual-Fuel System Commercial Demonstration by Innovative Fuel Systems
Total project value: $2,800,000 | ERA commitment: $1,200,000
Commercial validation of technology that allows heavy duty truck engines to displace up to 50 per cent of their diesel with cleaner burning natural gas.
Converting Landfill Gas to Renewable Natural Gas by Clover Bar Landfill
Total project value: $25,000,000 | ERA commitment: $10,000,000
The project will explore opportunities to upgrade landfill gas (LFG) at Clover Bar Landfill and inject it into Alberta’s natural gas system as renewable natural gas (RNG). Stakeholders in the Clover Bar Landfill, the City of Edmonton and Capital Power, are exploring these possible opportunities.
According to ERA, these technology innovations could lead to cumulative GHG reductions of almost one million tonnes of CO2e by 2030—equivalent to the GHG emissions from 750,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year. As well, these projects may deliver approximately 760 new jobs.
Projects were selected through ERA’s competitive review process. A team of experts in science, engineering, business development, commercialization, financing, and greenhouse gas quantification conducted an independent, rigorous, transparent review overseen by a Fairness Monitor.
All recipients are required to produce a final outcomes report that will be shared publicly for the broader benefit of Alberta. All projects involve field piloting, demonstration, or commercial deployment of technology within the province.
To help streamline the application process, ERA says it collaborated with the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF) to leverage funding opportunities beyond ERA’s scope through NGIF’s $3 million Cleantech Competition.
NGIF announced its semi-finalists on June 23, 2020. Three of ERA’s Natural Gas Challenge winners—Kinitics Automation, Westgen Technologies Inc., and Challenger Technical Services—were announced as shortlisted for NGIF’s funding competition.