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Newly released white paper explores the Edmonton Metropolitan Region’s potential as a ‘hydrogen node’

The Transition Accelerator has released a white paper – Towards Net-Zero Energy Systems in Canada: A Key Role for Hydrogen. The report includes a pan-Canadian perspective on the work of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force which was established in order to develop a framework for implementing a hydrogen economy in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. This white paper provides an assessment of the ability of the region to contribute to the transition towards a net-zero energy future through the acceleration of hydrogen adoption.

Part of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, represents a cluster of world-class refining and processing operations representing $40 billion in capital investments and a wealth of expertise in the energy sector.  

As Canada commits to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, most of the fossil carbon-based energy carriers – like gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and natural gas – that currently provide over 70% of secondary energy demand in Canada will need to be replaced with zero-emission energy carriers. Hydrogen has the capacity to fulfill this need.

In order to scale up the hydrogen industry in Canada to meet the anticipated demand, the white paper recommends the establishment of ‘hydrogen nodes’ in regions across the country where the following criteria can be met:

  1. Low cost/low carbon source of blue, green or waste hydrogen
  2. Substantial nearby markets for the hydrogen as fuel and/or industrial feed stock
  3. Ability to cost-effectively connect supply to demand
  4. Scale of supply and demand where the economics work without sustained public investment
  5. Engaged industry, governments and academics to drive and support the initiative

The unique strengths of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland make it an excellent choice when considering where to locate one of these ‘nodes’. The region is among the world’s lowest cost producers of hydrogen. Alberta’s blue hydrogen, in particular, is made with ultra-low emissions by upgrading natural gas and sequestering carbon dioxide.

As well, the region offers well developed existing infrastructure, excellent access to domestic and international markets, a growing clean-tech ecosystem, and skilled labour.   

Lastly, the establishment of the Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Taskforce has brought together government, industry and academia – clearly demonstrating well rounded support of this initiative.

You can learn more about the study by reading the white paper here.

ATCO TO BUILD ALBERTA’S FIRST HYDROGEN BLENDING PROJECT WITH ERA SUPPORT

Canadian Utilities, an ATCO company, announced it has been awarded $2.8 million in funding from Emission Reductions Alberta’s (ERA) Natural Gas Challenge to advance a first-of-its-kind hydrogen blending project in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. Once complete, the project will be Canada’s largest hydrogen blending project, injecting up to five per cent hydrogen by volume into a section of Fort Saskatchewan’s residential natural gas distribution network, lowering the carbon intensity of the natural gas stream for its customers.

“Affordably decarbonizing the production of heat is vital to achieve our long-term emissions and energy goals, particularly in our cold Canadian climate, and hydrogen can play a powerful role,” said Siegfried Kiefer, President & Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Utilities. “This project is an important first step for Alberta, which has all the ingredients needed to be a leader in the hydrogen economy—including the ability to produce near zero-emissions hydrogen at a lower cost than virtually any other jurisdiction in the world.”

Canadian Utilities’ project will use hydrogen derived from domestically-produced natural gas, with the intent to eventually leverage Alberta’s existing carbon capture and sequestration infrastructure to store emissions associated with the production process. Engaging with customers and the community of Fort Saskatchewan will be integral to the project. Canadian Utilities will work diligently to create awareness about the safety of hydrogen, environmental benefits and the considerable economic potential.

“This project will not only create jobs, but a roadmap for hydrogen in Alberta, using low-cost, responsibly produced natural gas while leveraging the province’s existing investment in carbon capture technology,” said George Lidgett, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Utilities, Canadian Utilities. “Our vision is to enable Western Canada’s world-class natural gas industry to grow in tandem with Alberta’s hydrogen economy, including supplying eventual exports to global markets where demand is steadily growing.”

The Fort Saskatchewan Blending Project is expected to get underway in September with commercial and community activities. Construction is planned to commence begin the first quarter of 2021.

“The City is pleased to be the site of this proposed hydrogen blending project,” said Fort Saskatchewan Mayor Gale Katchur. “This project demonstrates Fort Saskatchewan’s commitment to sustainability and reducing emissions, while supporting our local economy. We look forward to working with ATCO.”

This isn’t ATCO’s first foray into the production, distribution and use of hydrogen. Last year, ATCO officially opened its world-class Clean Energy Innovation Hub in Western Australia. The industry-leading facility is a test bed for hybrid energy solutions and integrates natural gas, solar PV, battery storage and clean hydrogen production. In addition, ATCO is working with Fortescue Metals Group in Australia to explore hydrogen vehicle fuelling infrastructure in Western Australia and has recently been awarded funding by the government of Western Australia to conduct a feasibility study into the development of a commercial scale hydrogen production plant.

Blending hydrogen into the natural gas grid is being safely trialed in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and France, with concentrations reaching up 30 to per cent by volume.

With approximately 4,600 employees, assets of $20 billion, and two million customers around the world, Canadian Utilities Limited, an ATCO company, is a diversified global energy infrastructure corporation delivering essential energy services, service excellence and innovative business solutions in Utilities (electricity and natural gas transmission and distribution), Energy Infrastructure (electricity generation, energy storage, and industrial water solutions); and Retail Energy (electricity and natural gas retail sales). More information can be found at www.canadianutilities.com.

Investor Inquiries:
Myles Dougan
Director, Investor Relations & External Disclosure
T: 403 292 7879 C: 403 828 2908

Media Inquiries:
Leanne Madder
Senior Communications Advisor
T: 587-215-9115

Trash is biofuel treasure; Enerkem uses Alberta as a launching pad for expansion

Photograph of Enerkem facility in Edmonton, Alberta
The Enerken facility in Edmonton, Alberta (supplied by Enerkem)

Up on the wall in Enerkem’s Montreal HQ is a map of the world, peppered with dozens of little multicoloured pins. They’re scattered over North America, Europe and Asia — each point representing a visit. Someone, or someones, who travelled to Alberta for a tour of the company’s one-of-a-kind creation. 

Enerkem’s Edmonton facility, with its tall tanks hidden among a web of steam beams and railings, is easy to lose among the many other industrial sites that sit just off the Anthony Henday, east of the city. But the facility marks a huge step forward — the first commercial facility in the world to turn municipal trash into biofuel. And that’s attracted a lot of interest, both in Canada and beyond.

“We could probably make a whole other business out of it, if we made people pay for a tour,” says Michel Chornet, Enerkem’s Executive Vice President of Engineering, Innovations and Operations.

Canada creates a massive amount of trash – about 13 million tonnes of it in 2008, according to the Conference Board of Canada. That was enough to put Canada ahead of other 17 countries when calculating municipal waste per capita. And while other sources of waste have cleaned up their act since then, garbage from homes has actually gone up. In 2016, Statscan estimated 282 kilograms of residential waste was generated for every person in Canada, up from 269 kilograms in 2002. 

While some of that waste gets diverted to recycling programs and composting facilities, the majority of it ends up in landfills or incinerators, both of which have large environmental impacts.

For the past two decades, Enerkem has been trying to find a new use for this endless stream of trash. By turning waste into biofuels, not only would there be less waste headed to the landfill, but it would also offer a more environmentally friendly way of producing fuel and chemicals for industry. 

“We knew in the future there would be a mandate for biofuels,” he said. “We could resolve two problems at one time.”

The company found success with a pilot project in Quebec. But the next hurdle was a big one. They had to show that the process not only worked but that it could be scaled up to be commercially viable. 

The chance to test it out came when Enerkem was approached by the City of Edmonton. The city had already built a reputation for being on the forefront of waste management and now it had pledged itself to an ambitious goal: diverting 90% of its municipal waste away from the landfill. 

Some of this could be done through recycling and composting programs. But that still leaves a lot of waste with nowhere to go: things like plastics, Styrofoam and normally recyclable items that are in poor condition. 

Fortunately, Chornet says, that’s exactly the material that works well for biofuel.

“They didn’t want to have to build another landfill,” he says. “People see it as a waste, we see it as a carbon resource,” he says. 

The whole process is shockingly quick. Once the recyclables, compost and metal has been removed, it’s brought to Enerkem’s facility. First, the waste is sorted and shredded and then sent into a gasifier where it is turned into synthetic gas (or syngas).

From there, the syngas is cleaned, purified and refined until it is to the point where it can either be turned into biofuels — like liquid methanol or ethanol — or in high-grade syngas that can later be made into chemicals like ammonia. The entire process takes about 5 minutes. 

The plant is now responsible for diverting about 30% of Edmonton’s waste, Chornet says.

The facility’s success drew a lot of attention.

“It’s a big step for us,” he says. “It’s a project that has already led to a lot of other partnerships and attention. We’re the only one who has been able to convert waste for that scale into chemical and biofuels.”

One of the most important partnerships has been Enerkem’s collaboration with Suncor, which uses the biofuel created by the plant for transportation. Chornet says the energy giant “has a lot of trucks” and biofuel offers a greener way of keeping them on the road. As well, he says Suncor has provided vital technical expertise to help refine Enerkem’s technology and make their own operations more efficient. 

“It’s a great partnership. They are an operator, we’re technologists. They bring a lot of common sense and pragmatic information to how we operate.”

That partnership has also come with a big investment. A little over a year ago, Suncor joined the company’s existing investors in putting another $76.3 million into the company to expand to other regions. Last summer, Enerkem started preparatory work on a second waste-to-biofuel plant outside Varennes, Quebec.

Chornet says that the company is also looking towards other cities within Canada, although he said they weren’t ready to go into any specifics. As well, Enerkem is currently developing facilities in the Netherlands and Spain. 

As they do branch out across the country, he says the Edmonton experiment will serve as a blueprint for other facilities. 

From the start, Enerkem’s goal has always been to design a process that was easy to transfer to new cities. The “core technology” remains the same, according to Chornet, and modular construction means that new facilities can be spun up quickly based on the experience gained from the Alberta plant. 

Edmonton’s success also opened opportunities for other industries. Chornet says many of the visitors touring the Alberta plant hail from sectors that they hadn’t considered before, looking to see if Enerkem’s process could lead to turning waste into other useful products. 

“One of the things that really came from Edmonton was interest from other parties. It opened the door to other things – can we do aviation fuel? Can we do plastics?” he says.

“It generated a bunch of innovation. It’s gone even beyond our expectations.”

$58 MILLION ANNOUNCED FOR NATURAL GAS INNOVATIONS WORTH $155 MILLION

ERA supports 20 projects that create jobs, attract investment, and reduce emissions

Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to better measure and locate methane emissions, and prototyping new approaches to convert natural gas to hydrogen, are two of 20 technology innovations that will receive funding from the Government of Alberta through Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA).

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 with ERA CEO, Steve MacDonald, on Tuesday, July  21, 2020, at the opening of the Maximizing Funding Potential Workshop, presented by ERA and Alberta Innovates.

ERA is committing $58.4 million for 20 projects worth $155 million. Funding for ERA’s challenges comes from the carbon price paid by Large Final Emitters in Alberta through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund.

“Today’s announcement by the Government of Alberta supports investment attraction, job creation, and economic growth. Some 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.”

Steve MacDonald, CEO, ERA

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:

UPSTREAM

MultiSensor Canada Inc.

Methane Imaging Solution for Continuous Leak Detection and Quantification for Tank Emissions and Facility Monitoring
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.

Qube Technologies

Emissions Reductions Through Artificial Intelligence
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.

University of Calgary

UCalgary-Canadian Natural Fugitive Emissions Pilot Study: Field-Scale Deployment and Acceleration of Made-In-Alberta Technology for Fugitive Emissions Detection and Reduction
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 Resources Limited

Canadian Natural Fugitive Emissions Study Using Aerial Detection Technology
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).

Challenger Technical Services

Multi Component Downhole Injection System
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.

Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC)

Affordable Zero-Emission Fail-Safe Electric Dump Valve Actuator (EDVA) Phase 2
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 Automation Limited

Kinitics Valve Actuator for Gas Producers
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.

Westgen Technologies Inc.

Unlocking EPOD Economic Zero Bleed Pneumatic Instrument Air Retrofit Solution
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.

Modern Wellbore Solutions

Demonstration of a Full-Scale Multilateral Junction Assembly
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.

Tourmaline Oil Corp.

Natural Gas Mobile Unit for Drilling Rig Power Generation
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.

DOWNSTREAM AND VALUE-ADDED

ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd.

Fort Saskatchewan Hydrogen Blending
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.

Ekona Power Inc.

Development and Field Testing of a Tri-Generation Pyrolysis (TGP) System for Low-cost, Clean Hydrogen Production
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.

Standing Wave Reformers Inc.

A New Wave in Hydrogen Production
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 Gas and Pipelines Ltd.

ATCO and Future Fuel RNG
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.

Sustainitech Inc.

Co-Locating Natural Gas and Indoor Agriculture for Alberta’s Future
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.

Enersion Inc.

Greenest Natural Gas-Powered Quad-generation with a 41% GHG Reduction
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.

Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc.

Demonstration of Thermally Driven Heat Pumps for Residential Heating Applications
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.

Anax Power

Turboexpander Project
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.

Innovative Fuel Systems

Advanced Dual-Fuel System Commercial Demonstration
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.

Clover Bar Landfill

Converting Landfill Gas to Renewable Natural Gas
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.

If successful, these technology innovations will 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. It is anticipated these projects will also 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.

“ERA funding is critical to the transformative jump from pilot to market-ready innovation.  SWR is unique in that it is a novel application based on well-understood, existing components.  This allows us to move quickly from lab to market entry in Canada.  With ERA’s funding and partners, together, we can make a substantial near-term difference in global decarbonization.” 

Kathleen O’Neil, CEO, Standing Wave Reformers, Inc. 

“We’re very pleased to have the support of ERA in the final steps of commercial validation of our technology. Working with ERA and Westcan will help us showcase our technology’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the heavy-duty trucking industry, while also allowing the industry to significantly cut fuel costs.”

Leland Oberst, President and Chief Executive Officer, Innovative Fuel Systems

“Working with our industry partners, Kinitics plans to demonstrate the company’s shape memory alloy-based electric actuators as a viable alternative to methane-venting pneumatic actuators at production well sites. ERA’s contribution will allow us to raise awareness of the technology in the industry, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and potentially eliminate methane-venting devices entirely in Western Canada.”

Dean Pick, President, Kinitics Automation

“Our primary product, EPOD, has proven itself as a great solution for new well sites. However, we believe the real opportunity for Alberta lies in addressing its thousands of existing well sites. Funding from ERA will enable us to demonstrate an economically attractive instrument air retrofit solution. We believe this has potential to create a step change in the environmental performance of our industry.”

Connor O’Shea, President, Westgen Technologies Inc.

“At MultiSensor, we have been developing a cost-effective methane monitoring Internet of Things solution since 2016. ERA’s Natural Gas Challenge funding is material for us to commercially demonstrate our cloud-connected cameras in the field at scale. Our automated remote monitoring solution will enable Alberta’s oil and gas industry to focus leak detection and reduction efforts on where it delivers the biggest reductions—identifying, quantifying, and repairing leaks and vents as they occur.”

Stefan Bokaemper, President, MultiSensor Canada, Inc.

“ERA funding is a stepping-stone to translate our vehicle-based emissions screening system into a scalable commercial solution that helps industry lower and monitor methane emissions more efficiently and cost-effectively. We will undertake a full-scale field pilot over two years with our industry partner using a fleet of vehicles to survey thousands of facilities, while collecting additional emissions measurements from public roads across most operating areas of Alberta.”

Dr. Chris Hugenholtz, Associate Professor & Parex Innovation Fellow, University of Calgary

“The funding provided by ERA is key to commercialization of the LMT EDVA, a technology project that will not only enable cleaner oil and gas production to achieve Canada’s methane emissions reduction targets, it may also help revive our struggling oil and gas and cleantech sectors.”

Soheil Asgarpour, President, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC)

“We are actively exploring innovative technologies that can improve the efficiency and sustainability of our operations. The funding received from ERA will enable us to implement a natural gas mobile power generation unit, contributing to Tourmaline’s diesel displacement initiative and reducing fuel costs and GHG emissions.”

Earl McKinnon, Vice President, Operations, Tourmaline Oil Corp.

“Challenger is an Alberta-based service company with a solution for oil and gas wells that leak carbon emissions into the atmosphere.  At Challenger, we are grateful to have a home province that not only welcomes innovation, but actively supports it. ERA’s funding will be critical in bringing our technology to market and allow us to advance rollout to other jurisdictions seeking to control fugitive GHG emissions.”

Colton Hoffman, President, Challenger Technical Service

To help streamline the application process, ERA 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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Emissions Reduction Alberta
Kevin Duncan
403.431.2859 | kduncan@eralberta.ca

ABOUT EMISSIONS REDUCTION ALBERTA (ERA):
For more than 10 years, ERA has been investing the revenues from the carbon price paid by large final emitters to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative clean technology solutions. Since ERA was established in 2009, they have committed $534 million toward 161 projects worth $4 billion that are helping to reduce GHGs, create competitive industries and are leading to new business opportunities in Alberta. These projects are estimated to deliver cumulative reductions of 32.9 million tonnes of CO₂e by 2030.

Fort Saskatchewan chosen for new ATCO project

FORT SASKATCHEWAN, ALBERTA, (Tuesday, July 21, 2020) – Fort Saskatchewan is pleased to be chosen as the site of ATCO hydrogen blending project, which received $2.8 million in funding from Emission Reductions Alberta’s Natural Gas Challenge.

This first-of-its-kind project in Alberta will enable ATCO to inject up to five percent hydrogen by volume into sections of the residential natural gas distribution network in the City, lowering the carbon intensity of the gas stream for customers.

“This project will not only create jobs, but a roadmap for hydrogen in Alberta, using low-cost, responsibly produced natural gas while leveraging the province’s existing investment in carbon capture technology,” said George Lidgett, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Utilities. “Our vision is to enable Western Canada’s world-class natural gas industry to grow in tandem with Alberta’s hydrogen economy, including supplying eventual exports to global markets where demand is steadily growing.”

ATCO’s project will use hydrogen derived from domestically-produced natural gas, with the intent to eventually leverage Alberta’s existing carbon capture and sequestration infrastructure to store emissions associated with the production process. Engaging with customers and the community of Fort Saskatchewan will be an integral focus of the project. ATCO will work diligently to create an awareness about the safety of hydrogen, environmental benefits and the considerable economic potential. 

“The City is pleased to be the site of ATCO’s proposed hydrogen blending project.” Said Mayor Gale Katchur.  “This project demonstrates Fort Saskatchewan’s commitment to sustainability and reducing emissions, while supporting our local economy.  We look forward to working with ATCO”.

“Affordably decarbonizing the production of heat is vital to achieve our long-term emissions and energy goals, particularly in our cold Canadian climate, and hydrogen can play a powerful role,” said Siegfried Kiefer, President & Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Utilities, an ATCO company. “This project is an important first step for Alberta, which has all the ingredients needed to be a leader in the hydrogen economy—including the ability to produce near zero-emissions hydrogen at a lower cost than virtually any other jurisdiction in the world.”

Blending hydrogen into the natural gas grid is being safely trialed in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and France, with concentrations reaching up 30 to per cent by volume. 

The Fort Saskatchewan Blending Project is expected to get underway in September, with construction beginning the first quarter of 2021. 

Fort Saskatchewan is a vibrant economic and cultural hub located just 15 minutes northeast of Edmonton on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. Home to more than 26,900 people, the City of Fort Saskatchewan proudly manages state of the art recreation, culture and historic amenities including 75 km of outdoor trails, a performing arts theatre and fitness centre within the Dow Centennial Centre and the 1875 NWMP Fort Representation.

Media contact:
Mark Morrissey 

Director, Economic Development
City of Fort Saskatchewan

Tel: 780.992.6231 / Email: mmorrissey@fortsask.caWeb: fortsask.ca / Facebook: CityFortSask / Twitter: @CityFortSask

RJ Maclean – Disrupting the status quo to bring innovation to the energy industry

Kiely Maclean, President and CEO of RJ Maclean.

RJ Maclean is working to modernize the energy industry, using innovative technology to do some of its dirtiest – and most dangerous – work.

Storage tank cleaning is an essential process in the oil sector and is required to be performed in any facility where oil is stored. Traditionally, this process involves removing as much of the product or sludge within the tank as possible, then people climb into the tanks to finish the job by hand. Despite rigorous safety precautions, this is some of the most dangerous work being done in the industry.

After completing her degree, Kiely chose to take a job working at the field level for a tank cleaning company. Working on the front lines of these projects, Kiely was able to see first-hand an opportunity for technological and environmental innovation. Both Kiely and her father, Greg Maclean, a long advocate for innovation in energy, were convinced that these archaic cleaning methods could be modernized. The father-daughter team initiated a consultation company called Maclean Tank Services, a global consulting company that taught people in the industry how to use robotics for tank cleaning.

Challenging the status quo

In 2015, Kiely and Greg then partnered with RJ Oil Sands (now RJ Enterprises), headed up by Jack Seguin, another award-winning innovator in the energy sector.

One of the biggest challenges RJ Maclean faced early on was the high degree of difficulty in gaining entry in this sector. The energy industry is generally well established, meaning it can be difficult to change the status quo. However, RJ Maclean had an innovative way of scaling these barriers.

“When we walked through the technology with potential clients, we would start by cleaning a tank using the traditional methods, to prove that we were familiar with the process and the standards,” says Kiely Maclean, CEO and Co-Founder of RJ Maclean. “From there, we could introduce one robot at a time to demonstrate how the process worked and the opportunities for efficiency.”

RJ Maclean went through this process with several Canadian clients. Eventually word of RJ Maclean’s unique methods and technology spread throughout the industry, challenging competition to also star to adopt automation. Soon, a leading international energy corporation recognized the value in the innovation and bought into it wholeheartedly. “We’ve been given the opportunity to work for them across North America. It shows what we have been able to accomplish as a relatively new company in the last five years.”

RJ Maclean has been able to cultivate a team of young professionals who are engaged in a modern approach to establish the foundation of their business. “Competition doesn’t scare me,” says Kiely. “It’s the people on our team that give us an edge, they are the ones driving the innovation. Ultimately, its the method our team uses to execute the work that makes it hard for our competitors to keep up.”

The Edmonton metro region advantage

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is one of the largest energy manufacturing hubs in North America. The region’s manufacturing capabilities and access to global markets make it the perfect place for RJ Maclean to be based.

“The Edmonton region is very focused on research and development,” says Kiely. “It’s very innovative here. There are not a lot of communities that are as focused on putting their heads down and challenging the status quo the way Edmonton is doing. There’s a collective willingness for innovation that translates into a global scale.”

New carbon solution in Alberta delivers use for industrial emissions

World’s largest capacity CO2 pipeline part of expandable capture and storage system

Alberta – June 2, 2020 – A new system built to safely transport and permanently store CO2 is shifting how carbon is managed in the province. The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) system, the world’s newest large-scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) project, is now fully operational.


The ACTL system captures industrial emissions and delivers the CO2 to mature oil and gas reservoirs in Central Alberta for use in enhanced oil recovery and permanent storage. The current supply of CO2 is captured at the North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) Sturgeon Refinery and Nutrien’s Redwater Fertilizer Facility, offering a sustainable emissions solution for energy and agriculture sectors. The CO2 then travels down a 240-kilometre pipeline, which is owned by Wolf Midstream, to a storage reservoir owned by Enhance Energy.


The system includes the world’s largest capacity pipeline for CO2 from human activity, capable of transporting up to 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This is equal to the impact of capturing theCO2 from more than 2.6 million cars in Alberta. Designed with excess capacity, the system will connect more facilities and storage reservoirs in the future as demand increases for an effective solution to manage emissions.


“This is just the beginning,” said Jeff Pearson, President of Wolf Midstream’s Carbon Business Unit. “This critical piece of infrastructure supports significant future emissions solutions, new utilization pathways and innovation in the carbon capture space. The future of energy and a lower carbon economy relies on key infrastructure like the ACTL.”


“This will change how business is done in Alberta,” said Kevin Jabusch, CEO of Enhance Energy, which is injecting CO2 from the ACTL into oil fields near Clive, Alberta. “We are putting CO2 touse. We permanently keep CO2 out of the environment, while producing low-carbon energy. Not only are we reinvigorating our rural energy economy at a time when it is needed most, but we are playing a key role in advancing a sustainable solution to global energy requirements.”


“The Sturgeon Refinery made a bold decision over 15 years ago to incorporate carbon capture into its design,” said Kerry Margetts, President, NWR Sturgeon Refinery, “Our founders believed then, as we are proving today, that carbon capture was our environmental competitive advantage to producing a low carbon intensity diesel from Alberta’s bitumen resources.”


The ACTL system marks an important milestone project on the path for Alberta and Canada to effectively manage carbon emissions and support a cleaner global energy future.


The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line System www.actl.ca
The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) system is the world’s newest integrated, large-scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) project. Designed as the backbone infrastructure needed to support Alberta’s lower carbon economy, it has the world’s largest capacity pipeline for CO2 from human activity, capable of transporting up to 14.6 million tonnes of CO₂ per year. This represents approximately 20% of all current oil sands emissions or equal to the impact of capturing the CO2 from more than 2.6 million cars in Alberta.

Pioneered in Alberta, Canada, the ACTL system is now operational. The initial supply of CO2 is captured and compressed from a bitumen refinery and a fertilizer plant in Alberta’s IndustrialHeartland. It is then transported to mature oil fields in Central Alberta for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) before permanent storage.


Not only does the ACTL system remove greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and decrease Canada’s carbon footprint, it uses the captured CO₂ to revitalize a light oil industry, leveragingAlberta’s wealth of suitable storage reservoirs, technical expertise and innovative spirit to create thousands of new jobs, and generate meaningful tax revenue.


The multi-faceted ACTL system is owned and operated by a consortium of companies. It has also been supported by both the Government of Alberta (through its Carbon Capture and Storage Fund) and the Government of Canada (through its ecoEnergy Technology Initiative and the Clean
Energy Fund) to help make CCUS technologies more accessible and encourage wider use of the technology around the world.


Wolf Midstream www.wolfmidstream.com
Wolf Midstream (Wolf) is an Alberta-based private company backed by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments). Wolf was formed in 2015 to focus on the acquisition and development of midstream infrastructure and opportunities in Western Canada. Wolf is committed
to transforming the future of carbon reduction through the development of world scale CO2 infrastructure in both Canada and abroad. Wolf is the owner and operator of the compression facilities at the two capture sites, as well as the 240-kilometre pipeline that safely transports the CO2 from the capture sites to the CO2 EOR operation in Central Alberta.


Enhance Energy www.enhanceenergy.com
Enhance Energy (Enhance) is a private oil and gas development company specializing in EOR and focused on using CO2 for miscible flooding. Enhance is the owner and operator of the utilization and storage portion of the ACTL system through its CO2 EOR operation at the Clive field in Central Alberta. The leadership team has extensive experience in the energy industry including the planning and implementation of similar, large-scale CO2 EOR projects. Enhance’s ability to store CO2 while increasing light oil production will result in a new and significant low carbon source of fossil fuel production.


North West Redwater Partnership www.nwrsturgeonrefinery.com
The North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) is a joint venture between NWU LP (Alberta), owned by North West Refining Inc. (Alberta) and CNR (Redwater) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Natural Resources Limited. NWR operates the Sturgeon Refinery near Redwater, Alberta. It is the world’s only refinery designed from the ground up to minimize its environmental footprint through carbon capture. Phase 1 of the refinery captures 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 per year, which serves as the anchor supply for the ACTL. Because of its carbon capture solution, diesel produced at the Sturgeon Refinery is the lowest “wells-to-wheels” CO2 transportation fuel based on heavy feedstock.


Nutrien www.nutrien.com
Nutrien is the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, playing a critical role in helping growers increase food production in a sustainable manner. Nutrien is the owner and operator of the Redwater Fertilizer Facility, which captures approximately 0.3 million tonnes of previously
vented CO2 per year.


Nutrien has also used carbon capture since 2013 as a technical option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at their Geismar, LA facility, diverting more than 248,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere in 2019.

Meet our Leaders

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Today, Edmonton Global launched a video series entitled “Meet our Leaders” highlighting businesses in key sectors that are primed for growth and investment across the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.  

The series shares examples of industry leaders who continue to leverage the unique benefits of doing business in the region. “These videos are part of raising the profile and building awareness of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region among international investors and companies from around the world who are looking to expand,” said Malcolm Bruce, CEO of Edmonton Global. “We all need to share the message that our region is young, educated, and growing. And our Northern location… it’s a strategic advantage. The stories of innovation and success that already exist here are inspiring and will help define the narrative of this great region.”  

The series focuses on leaders in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region who have found success in the following sectors:  

 AI & Tech

Health & Life Sciences

Manufacturing & Advanced Manufacturing

Food & Agriculture

 Energy & Clean Tech

“We want to showcase who we are and what’s happening across the Edmonton Metropolitan Region in a way that causes people to stand up and pay attention to what’s happening right here, right now,” continued Malcolm. “It’s industry leaders like these that are helping define the narrative of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. We have a compelling story to share with the world and now is the time to come together and advance this message.”

Growing greener, getting smarter: the rise of a new age

Connie Stacey is in the energy storing business, which is perfect given that she’s full of energy. She’s the mastermind behind Growing Greener Innovations, and hopes to bring her world-changing energy storage system to the masses.

They call it the Grengine, but it could be the answer to global energy poverty, as well as blackouts and unreliable power literally anywhere. 

The Grengine is a completely silent, scalable, portable, and buildable battery that can not only compete with traditional gas generators, but surpass them. It’s chargeable by anything that meets the minimum voltage of five volts, which includes any wall outlet, solar power, and hand-crank. 

Recently, the World Bank Group came out with a report titled “Energy Storage Trends and Opportunities in Emerging Markets” which had a list of installed cost per kilowatt hour for different types of batteries. The lowest cost batteries were lithium ion, and the installment cost was over $2100 USD per kilowatt hour. The Grengine’s retail installment cost is under $600 USD. How is this possible? For Grengine, there’s no electrician needed and it’s infinitely scalable. It would be accurate to say that they’ve put the electrician in the box.

The installment cost for normal batteries is so high because a trained electrician connects every single battery to the next, one at a time. But the Grengine’s batteries just need to be stacked onto each other, making it an easy and quick process – like Legos.

This helps promote local economies since instead of bringing in outside experts, you can bring in locals, and therefore create local economic growth. As Connie said, “If you’re in sub-saharan Africa, your next-door-neighbor isn’t an electrician. If you’re going to a place that does not have grid access, or has an unstable grid, that’s probably not the case, right?”

The Grengine’s easy system allows those that wouldn’t normally have access to energy, a whole new world of opportunities. And while those living in privileged societies might not comprehend it, energy poverty exists, and it is extremely common. In fact, more than 1.2 billion people live by candlelight, and more than 2.6 billion people need to burn biomass in order to generate energy to cook food. “More than half of the world’s population live with unstable energy access,” adds Connie. “The ultimate goal of the Grengine is to change that.”

However, it can also be used in the world’s most modern communities and buildings. It’s scaleable nature as well as its storage capabilities means that it can be used at a scale that works for everything and anything, from charging a phone to powering an entire city. In developed areas it provides electrical load management for reducing costs and power outages. It saves a lot of money for users, especially in areas with time of use fees.

While their units currently use Canadian innovation, many components are sourced and assembled abroad. Connie says they’d prefer to have everything done one hundred percent here. 

“The Edmonton metro region has an enormous advantage in manufacturing, especially given the low cost of and stability of the electricity here, our access to feedstocks including lithium, and that our universities and colleges both attract and generate amazingly talented people. 

“Canada has more Free Trade agreements than any other G7 country in the world, and we’re roboticizing manufacturing, which results in the capacity to substantially increase profit margins. We’re a great destination for advanced manufacturing companies.” Connie’s passion for the Edmonton metro region is contagious and she strongly encourages other companies to investigate the region’s advantages. 

“You’d be very, very hard-pressed to even find five cities in the world even competitive with the Edmonton metro region when you look at the big-picture.” 

Eco-entrepreneurs are engineering a future in space

Student space team spawns commercial satellite company

UAlberta engineers are driven to achieve the impossible. Mechanical engineering graduates Chris Robson and Kurtis Broda are part of a team that has launched a private space company.

A group of current and former students have launched a space company dedicated to observing the Earth in new ways. These students were driven to take the risk, to innovate, and to find radical solutions to modern problems.

Chris Robson and Kurtis Broda both hold master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta and are the founding partners of Wyvern, along with astrophysics graduate Kristen Cote and mechanical engineering undergrad Callie Lissinna. 

Robson was struck by the mysteries of the cosmos early in his engineering career, while working at an oil and gas company during an engineering co-op job placement.

“I was watching the space shuttle launch on one of my breaks. It was the first time I had ever watched a rocket launch and it just struck me,” he said. “It lit something inside of me. My soul was on fire.”

His innate desire to explore the unknown and his experience designing cubes satellites with the AlbertaSat team would perfectly match the research, specialities, and environmental-mindedness of his friend, Broda. 

Broda, driven by his passion for the environment, had developed expertise in creating instruments to measure the effects of climate change.

“During my master’s I became really passionate about scientific instrumentation and trying to mitigate the effects of climate change, so when Chris said, ‘Hey, do you want to start a space company where we could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make the world a better place?’ I said, ‘Let’s do this.’ I was really struck by that opportunity.”

Teaming up and forming Wyvern, Broda and Robson are designing a cube satellite which, carrying new technology, will allow them to observe the Earth in ways never before visualized by humankind. 

By equipping a satellite with a hyperspectral camera, Robson, Broda, Cote and Lissina aim to make it possible for humanity to watch the Earth breathe. 

Hyperspectral imaging is the process by which spectral (light) information can be gathered for each and every pixel within an image. The information can then be analyzed to determine the material, density, and chemical composition of anything in the camera’s view. 

Robson says the colour resolution of the camera Wyvern is designing is so high that distinguishing one species of tree from another from their space-based platform will be possible. 

The applications are wide-ranging. Farmers could use the technology to monitor crops. The imaging capabilities would allow them to understand nutrient levels in soil and detect invasive weeds or the presence of pests. 

Heavy industries like mining could monitor their impact on the environment.

“There are applications in agriculture in order to optimize crop growth, and also in industries like mining, we will be able to monitor the processes to try to make them more efficient, and ultimately more green,” Broda said. 

Wyvern’s development of the proprietary technology necessary to provide daily measurements of the Earth’s atmospheric content makes them an ideal recipient of the Government of Alberta’s GreenSTEM initiative by providing funding and support to clean-technology company creation. With the financial support of GreenSTEM, will help build the future of the province.

Broda says the GreenSTEM funding will be used for research and development of Wyvern’s satellite, and to help the company get to the next level by acquiring investor funding.

At Wyvern, Broda, Robson, Lissinna and Cote are doing more than pushing the boundaries of technology, they are breaking them. 

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