NRC CCUS Illustration

Capturing potential: the Edmonton region leads CCUS innovation

Clean Technology, Hydrogen
Published On
September 21, 2022

The Edmonton region is leading the way in clean energy technologies because of its strong innovation ecosystem, a history of industry collaboration and investment, and a large pool of specialized talent.  

As the region hosts the 2022 Carbon Capture Canada – Canada’s National CCUS Convention in late September, it’s not hard to see why this is the right place to host some of the world’s greatest minds on the topic. 

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Energy production continues to be an economic pillar of the Edmonton region, and its proximity to the third largest oil reserves in the world has led to global investment and world-renowned innovation in Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS).  

CCUS consists of technologies that capture COfrom industrial facilities like natural gas processing facilities, hydrogen production, power stations, cement, iron and steel industries, and more. The captured CO2 from these operations is compressed, transported and safely stored in deep underground rock formations that have also held petroleum, gas and saline water for millions of years. The captured CO2 can also be used to make products like concrete or low-carbon fuels.

By capturing and storing what would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere, storing CO2 helps significantly reduce carbon emissions from these large-scale facilities, helping industry meet emission reduction and climate change targets. In turn, these less-carbon intensive technologies can also help industries produce cleaner oil and gas and provide opportunities for offshoot industries.

NRC CCUS Illustration

(Source: Natural Resources Canada)

Two of the ten largest global CCUS projects in operation are in the Edmonton region. Here, the provincial government has committed $1.24 billion to the region’s two commercial-scale CCUS projects from oil sands and fertilizer sectors. The Quest project and Alberta Carbon Trunk Line are fully operational and capturing up to a combined 2.76 million tonnes of CO2 per year —the equivalent of taking 600,000 vehicles off the road every 12 months.  

Both projects are also connected the region’s Alberta Industrial Heartland—a concentration of world-class energy operations at the heart of petrochemical activity in Western Canada. More than 40 national and multinational companies operate in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, turning traditional energy production on its head with new innovations, eco-friendly operations, and business ventures that are capturing international attention and investment.   

Alberta was the first jurisdiction in North America to put a price on carbon back in 2007, and CCUS will be a critical technology in helping the world quickly scale up hydrogen production to mitigate global greenhouse gas emissions. 

“The Edmonton region is the best place in the world to undertake CCUS projects – it’s been storing over a million tonnes per year for over seven years, has some of the best geology in the world, and the talent and expertise that can help the rest of the world develop its own CCUS projects. Investors looking to start new industrial-scale projects in the region can easily find an operator to manage their CO2 emissions and ensure it is being safely sequestered.” says Brent Lakeman, Edmonton Global’s Director of Hydrogen Initiative.

There’s more on the horizon for CCUS, as the region continues to showcase and attract expertise and investment.  

Pembina and TC Energy have also announced plans to jointly develop a world-scale carbon transportation and sequestration system in the Edmonton region which will be capable of transporting more than 20 million tonnes of CO2 annually. Called the Alberta Carbon Grid (ACG), the new sequestration hub will be developed with existing infrastructure in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. 

The provincial government also announced in March 2022 that it is looking for proposals to explore developing more safe carbon storage hubs for emission reduction in the Edmonton region. The Government of Canada also has a Federal Investment Tax Credit for CCUS.. 

The region’s energy industry continues to innovate to reduce emissions, and CCUS is one example of forward-thinking technologies that can carve a path to a greener future.  

Please fill out the form below to learn more about the exciting opportunities that are happening in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.