Alberta is spearheading the development, commercialization, deployment and adoption of clean technology across all social, commercial and industrial sectors and organizations. Cleantech applies to any process, product or service that reduces environmental impacts through protection activities, sustainable use of natural resources or use of goods modified or adapted to be significantly less energy- or resource-intensive than the industry standard. The Alberta cleantech sector is comprised of all companies or organizations that contribute to the research, development, manufacture, application or sale of clean technologies.
Cleaner Hydrocarbon Production
The development and deployment of in situ solvent-based recovery technologies could lead to reductions in GHG and water-use intensity by 60 to 90 per cent, depending on the technology deployed. Key opportunities for innovation in Alberta exist in partial upgrading of bitumen, partial solvent-based or pure-solvent in situ extraction and electromagnetic in situ production.
Local Infrastructure: InnoTech Alberta, C-FER Technologies Inc., CanmetENERGY Devon, University of Alberta Future Energy Systems, University of Alberta Institute for Oil Sands Innovation, University of Calgary Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources, NAIT Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability
Methane Emissions Reduction
The Alberta Government is currently working with multiple stakeholders to develop cost-effective provincial methane regulations for new and existing facilities in oil and gas. Alberta Energy is exploring emerging emission reduction opportunities in Alberta, such as revised leak detection and repair (LDAR) standards. The Alberta Climate Change Office (ACCO) has multiple offset protocols available to credit early action to reduce methane. Methane emission reduction initiatives have applications across oil and gas, agriculture and waste management industries. Primary industrial supporters include Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN), and Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC).
Local Infrastructure: InnoTech Alberta, C-FER Technologies, NAIT Centre for Sensors and System Integration, CanmetENERGY Devon, Advanced Energy Research Facility
Carbon Management and Utilization
The provincial government has committed $1.3 billion to two commercial-scale carbon capture and storage projects, the Quest project and the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line project, representing one of the largest public commitments to carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in the world. Additionally, in 2017, provincial and federal government funding was announced for the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC), located in Calgary. The centre is a unique facility designed for testing and refining CO2 conversion and utilization technologies. Upon completion of construction in 2018, it will be operated at a near-commercial scale using real-life flue gas produced from natural gas combustion.
Local Infrastructure: Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre, Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, Shell Quest
Low Carbon Electricity System
Policy direction established by the Climate Leadership Plan has started to transform Alberta’s energy system. The Renewable Electricity Program (REP) will support the installation of 5,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy capacity. Alberta will also transition to a capacity and energy market system by 2021. System changes are expected to result in a more efficient, stable and sustainable electricity market and allow for a smoother transition to cleaner power. Key opportunities for innovation in Alberta include distributed energy components, electricity storage, geothermal, cold-weather testing and applications, and smart and micro-grid technologies.
Local Infrastructure: SAIT Solar Lab: Green Building Technologies
The sector draws on Alberta’s existing strengths and investments in micro- and nano-technology, advanced sensors, artificial intelligence, data analytics, machine learning and geomatics. Key innovation opportunities in Alberta include process optimization, predictive maintenance, and data-informed decision-making, and will be significant to optimizing emission regulation, energy and water consumption and environmental management.
Local Infrastructure: Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (AMII), TecTerra, Alberta Data Partnerships, Alberta Centre for Advanced Micro- and Nano-Technology Products (ACAMP), and NRC Nanotechnology Research Institute.
Internationally, Alberta is recognized for building and construction innovation, with many companies spearheading improvements in the areas of automated construction, advanced materials, innovative visualization and collaborative construction. Technology and regulatory changes could further drive the development of green products and services, including the implementation of policies that promote the “design for the environment” concept and green procurement requirements for government. Key innovation opportunities in Alberta include the incorporation of advanced materials and technologies in construction and utilization of advanced tools to improve design and construction processes.
Local Infrastructure: SAIT Green Building Technologies Lab, Mosaic Centre
Sustainable Waste Management
Albertans have decreased the amount of waste sent to landfills from 838 kilograms per capita in 2012 to 565 kilograms per capita in 2016. Emerging technologies have the potential to bolster Alberta’s circular economy, converting municipal waste and industrial by-product from the agriculture and forestry industries into bioenergy products, including renewable fuels, biochemicals, biomaterials, and other bioenergy products. Key innovation opportunities in Alberta include new technologies and processes related to source reduction and reuse, recycling and composting, and waste conversion.
Local Infrastructure: Edmonton Waste Management Centre, Advanced Energy Research Facility
Holistic Water Management
Alberta has significant expertise and infrastructure in waste and wastewater management research and innovation, servicing the oil and gas sector as well as municipal and industrial wastewater systems. In 2017, Alberta Transportation allocated $105 million in grants for water projects across the province, allowing municipalities to compete for federal funding and move forward with 15 major drinking or wastewater treatment projects. Alberta Innovates has also invested heavily, allocating $6.9 million to 18 new projects under the Water Innovation Program in 2016 and announcing joint funding of $6.2 million with SDTC for the development and demonstration of new and innovative water technologies.
Local Infrastructure: Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant, University of Calgary Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets, University of Alberta Surface Science Hub for Clean Technology
The Government of Alberta is investing in a number of sustainable mobility initiatives. Emissions Reduction Alberta’s portfolio includes investment in the development of a natural gas “dual fuel” blending system for heavy-duty diesel vehicles and a “drop-in” renewable diesel that can be substituted for regular fossil fuels in existing engines and fuel distribution systems. ACTIVE-AURORA is Canada’s first operational connected vehicle testbed network. It is being lead by the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia. ACAMP is leading the Advanced Systems for Transportation Consortium to engage all aspects of the delivery of autonomous systems, including autonomous driving technologies. In addition, the Alberta Renewable Fuels Standard Regulation establishes requirements for renewable fuel content by volume, as well as minimum carbon intensity thresholds for renewable fuels.
Local Infrastructure: University of Alberta ACTIVE-AURORA, ACAMP
Alberta has a depth of experience in ex-situ site remediation due to significant industrial land disturbances, including oil and gas well sites, industrially contaminated lands, and linear disturbances from pipelines. Land-use planning and management is also a major area of priority for the province, particularly related to innovative modelling systems and data analytics. The expertise of Alberta’s environmental services industry combined with the diverse and complex working landscape provides a variable testbed for the validation and demonstration of cross-cutting technologies for multiple sectors.
Local Infrastructure: NAIT Boreal Research Institute
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Technology Deployment and Adoption Support
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Policy & Legislation