Alberta is spearheading the development, commercialization and adoption of clean technology across industrial sectors. 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 fully or partially research and develop, manufacture, apply or sell clean technologies.
Key Focus Areas
1. Cleaner oil and gas development
The development and deployment of partial solvent based technologies and more advanced pure solvent in situ oil sands production technologies could lead to GHG reductions in the range of 40 to 90 per cent and reduce fresh water use by 40 to 90 per cent. Key innovation areas of opportunity in this area may include: partial upgrading of bitumen, partial solvent-based or pure solvent in situ extraction and electromagnetic in situ production. Alberta is the centre of a global effort to convert industrial CO2 into useful products. Alberta’s Emissions Reduction Alberta has funded the Grand Challenge and is currently supporting 4 global finalists. As well, The Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) is co-sponsoring the Carbon XPRIZE with finalists testing their technologies at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre in Calgary.
Local infrastructure: CanmetENERGY Devon, InnoTech Alberta, C-FER Technologies, Shell Quest, Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre, 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
2. Methane emissions reduction
Methane emission reduction initiatives are being supported by a number of organizations in the oil and gas industry, agriculture and waste management industries. Primary supporters include Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, the Clean Resource Innovation Network, Emission Reductions Alberta, Alberta Innovates and Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada.
Local infrastructure: NAIT Centre for Sensors and System Integration, InnoTech Alberta, CFER Technologies, CanmetENERGY Devon and Advanced Energy Research Facility (AERF)
3. Low carbon electricity system
More than 5,000 MW of renewable power generation capacity has been proposed for future development through Alberta Electric System Operator’s Renewable Electricity Program. Additionally, Alberta is currently in the process of implementing a Capacity Market electricity system, which will make the system more efficient, stable and sustainable, as well as allow for a smoother transition to cleaner power. Key innovation areas of opportunity may include: electricity storage, geothermal, hybrid smart systems, cold-weather applications, and smart and micro-grid technologies.
Local infrastructure: SAIT Solar Lab: Green Building Technologies
4. Energy efficiency
Energy efficiency is wide-ranging and encompasses reducing energy use and emissions through energy saving products and processes across all industry sectors, as well as commercial, residential and commercial products. This sector draws on Alberta’s existing strengths in micro- and nano-technology, advanced sensors, artificial intelligence, data analytics, machine learning and geomatics. Key innovation areas of opportunity may include: process optimization, energy-efficient buildings, predictive maintenance and data-informed decision-making innovations such as waste heat capture and re-use, coolers and compressors.
Local infrastructure: Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (AMII), Tecterra, Alberta Data Partnerships, ACAMP: Industry scale clean technology advanced sensor cluster and NRC Nanotechnology Research Centre.
5. Green products and services
Alberta has strong capabilities in the areas of net-zero, automated and virtual construction, product innovation, and building product technologies, as well as production of green building materials that are wood-based and suited for extreme climate conditions. Major gains can be obtained through the incorporation of advanced materials and technologies in the construction of buildings and through utilizing advanced tools to improve the design and construction process. Ancillary benefits include: reduced energy and water use, land conservation, waste reduction or elimination and healthier buildings. Green building can also reduce electricity demand, as well as make transportation and new construction more efficient and less GHG intensive.
Local infrastructure: SAIT Green Building Technologies Lab, Mosaic Centre and Demonstration Centre
6. Sustainable waste management
Alberta’s waste management system’s five components (municipal, hazardous, oil and gas, agriculture and forestry) are capable of being transformed into value-added products such as renewable fuels, biochemical, biomaterials and other bioenergy products. Many opportunities exist for technology solutions at scale appropriate for smaller municipalities.
Local infrastructure: Edmonton Waste Management Centre and Advanced Energy Research Facility
7. Holistic water management
Companies like Edmonton-based Stantec, the largest water consultancy in Western Canada, and research organizations like the Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets facility in Calgary are helping to put Alberta on the map for our water expertise. New irrigation technologies, such as InteliRain, have also developed as a result of our strong agricultural industry.
Local infrastructure: The Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant and University of Calgary Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets
8. Sustainable mobility
The City of Calgary is developing an Electric Vehicle (EV) strategy and is working with a network of trusted partners to develop a system of 15 to 20 direct current fast charging stations across southern Alberta. Additionally, Alberta Transportation is investing in the development of a natural gas “dual fuel” blending system for heavy-duty diesel vehicles and a “drop-in” renewable diesel that can displace regular fossil fuels in existing engines and fuel distribution systems.
9. Remediation and reclamation
Environmental regulations have spurred the development of this domestic industry. Post-secondary institutions such as the NAIT Boreal Research institute are engaging in research into best practices in our harsh climate, while Alberta companies with a deep history in reclamation and remediation are now in high demand globally to bring Alberta technologies and practices into international markets in Asia and around the world.
- More than half of Canada’s 170 methane management companies are headquartered in Alberta.
- As of June 2016, installed electricity generation capacity was 16,261 MW with renewables making up approximately 10 per cent of all electricity generation in Alberta.
- The green building products and technologies market in Alberta is expected to grow to $7.1 billion by 2025.
- The waste management industry is a segment of the Environmental Products and Services industry, and contributed $2.79 billion to Alberta’s 2016 GDP.
- A provincial Water for Life action plan was developed and $1.8B in water infrastructure projects is being implemented to meet the surging economic and population growth.
- Alberta companies are developing water-saving technologies to serve the province’s oil and gas industry, where it is estimated that nearly $1 billion is spent annually on water handling.
- Alberta Innovates’ Water Innovation Program has allocated $6.9 million in 2016 to 18 new projects related to water supply and watershed management; healthy aquatic ecosystems; water use, conservation, efficiency, and productivity; and water quality protection.
- Within Alberta’s transportation sector, freight is the fastest growing segment and associated emissions are forecasted to eclipse passenger emissions by 2030.
- In December 2016, the governments of Canada and Alberta announced 52 new public transit projects under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.
- The Government of Alberta announced a $156.2 million investment in 37 additional transit projects funded through GreenTRIP.
- Alberta is home to Canada’s largest Remediation technology symposium, RemTech, where more than 500 business leaders, scientists and policy makers gather each October to discuss the leading technologies for land and water reclamation.
- More than $363.5M was spent on reclamation or decommissioning services in 2012.
- More than 400,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled in the province.