October 31, 2005

SDTC approves $42.5 million for 15 clean technology projects

In its seventh round of funding, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has approved a total of $42.5 million to support the development and demonstration of groundbreaking clean technologies and fast-track their progress toward commercialization. While funding for each of the 15 projects is subject to final contract negotiations, all have strong potential to generate economic and social, as well as environmental benefits.

The newly-approved projects involve participation by many of Canada's core industry sectors, including power generation, energy exploration and production, agriculture, waste management, transportation, and forestry, wood products and pulp and paper products. The private and public sector consortia partners behind the projects are investing an additional $91 million, representing a more than 2:1 ratio of industry partner contribution to SDTC investment.

Fully two-thirds of the projects are energy-related, their proponents representing the exploration and production, utilization or power generation sectors. All 15 projects are aimed at mitigating climate change, with several offering added air quality benefits. SDTC's next call for Statements of Interest (SOIs), in January 2006, will include a request for projects with technologies that address clean water and soil quality, as well as climate change and clean air. Summaries of the latest funded projects follow.

Energy Exploration and Production

1. Lead Organization: AirScience Technologies

A consortium led by AirScience Technologies, of Montreal, will demonstrate a new process called Terragas to produce hydrogen economically from biogenous feedstocks such as landfill gas. The project will use two new process technologies under licence from Unitel Technologies.

The first will clean landfill gas without having to dry the gas and/or remove oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2). The cleaning process will cost-effectively remove trace contaminants from biogas that would otherwise damage internal combustion engines, turbines or an auto-thermal reforming reactor.

The second process will convert the clean gas to hydrogen and CO2. Production of hydrogen from landfill gas at a commercial scale would generate an estimated four to six times the economic value of electricity produced from landfill gas.

Consortium members: Air Liquide Canada; the Municipality of Dolbeau, Que; SmartSoil Energie; and the University of Waterloo.

Environmental benefit: climate change

2. Lead Organization: Hatch Ltd

Hatch, of Mississauga, Ont will lead a team whose members will design, build and operate a 2,000-barrels-of-oil-per-day demonstration plant to field test the patented N-Solv process for in-situ extraction of oil from tar sands using a pure condensing solvent. An oil company will host the demonstration plant.

The process offers commercially attractive oil production rates, together with a 90% reduction in energy costs and an effective 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, compared to steam injection. In addition, the process consumes no water and produces a higher-value, enhanced-quality oil product.

The N-Solv demonstration plant will provide the data required to confirm the key technical, geological, environmental and economic parameters of the process.

Consortium members: N-Solv; and Nenniger Engineering

Environmental benefit: climate change

3. Lead Organization: Power Diagnostic Technologies

The consortium led by Power Diagnostic Technologies, of New Westminster, BC will develop a portable, hand-held leak detection and repair (LDAR) device for detection and imaging of gas leaks in confined spaces such as refineries and natural gas processing plants. A module to calibrate the rate of a detected leak will also be developed.

Intended for use by LDAR inspectors, this tool, if successful, will enable the petrochemical industry to find leaks of methane and other gases more efficiently, accurately and cost-effectively. It will incorporate the industry-requested feature of calibrating the leak rate of fugitive emissions in compliance with the new regulatory climate.

Consortium members and principal supporters: Alberta Research Council; Accura Embedded Systems; Cantronic Systems; BP Canada; BP North America; Interay BV; Dr Mark Rockley, Oklahoma State University; Opgal Optronic Industries; and Public Works and Government Services Canada

Environmental benefit: climate change

4. Lead Organization: SHEC Labs (Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation)

The consortium led by SHEC Labs, in Saskatoon, will demonstrate a system for using solar energy for hydrogen production. The project will feature the world's first commercial-scale renewable solar hydrogen "Dry Fuel Reformation" (DFR) reactors, unique solar concentrator designs and "Direct Water Splitting" (DWS) technologies.

Natural gas will initially be used to verify the performance of the DFR systems, with the ultimate goal of testing the complete DFR process using landfill gas (methane) at Regina's Fleet Street landfill, the project site.

Currently, 95% of the world's hydrogen is derived from steam reformation of fossil fuels. A key objective of this project is to demonstrate that SHEC Labs' technology can be cost-competitive with steam methane reformation, while dramatically reducing GHG emissions and other air pollutants.

SHEC Labs' solar hydrogen production will provide a net energy gain when converting methane into hydrogen since the energy used to drive the process is harvested from the sun. The technology is particularly attractive for smaller and distributed production of hydrogen at end-user sites, but could also be applicable for large-scale hydrogen production in the future.

The DWS technology, the next generation of solar hydrogen production, will also be demonstrated on a smaller scale and will involve direct water splitting with only water as the primary feed component.

Consortium members: Clean 16 Environmental Technologies; Giffels Associates; and the University of Toronto's department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry

Environmental benefit: climate change/clean air

5. Lead Organization: Vaperma

Vaperma, based in Ste-Foy, Que, is leading a consortium which will develop and demonstrate an advanced dehydration process for the biofuel industry using an innovative polymer membrane to separate water vapour from organic compounds such as ethanol. The company has teamed up with Commercial Alcohols, Canada's largest producer of ethanol, to prove the technology prior to industrial-scale commercialization.

The process offers increased energy efficiency - reducing energy costs by up to 40% - as well as lower GHG emissions, easy integration into any fuel-grade ethanol process, modularity, flexibility, simple operation and low maintenance. Applications for the technology include gas separation in the chemical, petrochemical and natural gas processing industries.

Consortium members: Commercial Alcohols; NRCan/CANMET team

Environmental benefit: climate change

Energy Production

6. Lead Organization: Petroleum Technology Research Centre

The Petroleum Technology Research Centre, in Regina, will work with its partners to develop, demonstrate and evaluate a more environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process for heavy oil reservoirs in western Canada. The technology uses a solvent vapour extraction process instead of steam to recover the heavy oil, reducing CO2 emissions and fresh water use by over 90%.

Consortium members: Canadian Natural Resources; Husky Energy; Nexen

Environmental benefit: climate change

Power Generation

7. Lead Organization: Plasco Energy Group

Ottawa-based Plasco and its partners will demonstrate a plasma gasification process that will convert municipal solid waste (MSW) into synthetic gas, inert solid material and heat. The heat and gas will be utilized in a combined-cycle cogeneration power plant to produce electricity for sale into the electricity grid.

Plasco has developed an economically viable way of treating MSW that reduces the environmental impact of conventional disposal methods such as landfill. The project will process up to 75 tonnes/day of MSW at Ottawa's Trail Road landfill site and generate a net four megawatts of electricity for sale to the grid.

The city of Ottawa will provide a site and related services for the demonstration project while Hydro Ottawa will facilitate its integration into the grid.

Consortium members: Ameresco U.S.; the city of Ottawa; and Hera Holdings SL

Environmental benefit: climate change

Energy Utilization

8. Lead Organization: EcoSmart Foundation Vancouver, BC

A consortium headed by the EcoSmart Foundation, in Vancouver, will develop a system for optimizing the use of supplementary cementing materials (SCMs) by simulating the effects of varying these materials on construction projects.

Determining optimal SCM levels will enable developers, architects, engineers, contractors and material suppliers to reduce costs along with GHG and air contaminant emissions by directly reducing the amount of Portland cement required for construction projects.

The system will gather scientific and technical knowledge, experience and intellectual property on SCMs and make it available to industry through a continuously updated, computer-based system.

Consortium members: Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD); Halcrow Yolles; Lafarge Canada; Natural Resources Canada (CANMET - Materials Technology); Public Works and Government Services Canada; Read Jones Christoffersen; University of New Brunswick; University of Calgary; and the Yolles Partnership

Environmental benefit: climate change/clean air

9. Lead Organization: Maratek Environmental

A demonstration project to be built by Maratek Environmental, in Bolton, Ontario, and its consortium partners, will be the world's first facility for recovering and re-using the solvent in dirty print shop towels. In addition to eliminating an environmental liability, the project will reduce disposal costs and create a revenue stream from the recycled solvent.

Maratek's process utilizes a volatile organic compound (VOC) removal system that removes over 95% of the used solvent from dirty shop towels, then recycles the towels. The process will incorporate a next-generation solvent distillation system to recover most of the waste solvent for re-use and provide enhanced wastewater treatment.

Consortium members: Fuji Hunt Chemicals; Omega Recycling

Environmental benefit: climate change/clean air

10. Lead Organization: Outland Technologies

In conjunction with its partners, Outland Technologies, of Calgary, will develop and demonstrate a new technology for generating electricity with reduced emissions. It will make use of waste energy at gas pressure let-down sites, i.e. locations where gas pressure is deliberately reduced for processing or to facilitate safe distribution to customers.

The "rotary positive displacement" (or CvR(tm)) technology will achieve the same result as a piston but in rotary motion, allowing much higher output relative to generator size. The "Power Recovery Generator" project will demonstrate CvR Technology coupled with 20- kilowatt (kW) and 400kW electricity generators.

This technology represents a new operational principle for piston devices, with numerous applications including rotary positive displacement pumps and possibly engines.

Consortium members: BP Canada; Braeside Fabricators; Cojo Technology; Crimtech Services; LOP Omnitech; Single Buoy Moorings; and Zed.i solutions

Environmental benefit: climate change

Waste Management

11. Lead Organization: DÈpÙt Rive-Nord

Déput Rive-Nord, of Berthierville, Que, and its consortium partners will demonstrate an end-to-end treatment and transformation process for residual wastes from several sources including municipalities, agriculture, agri-food, and industrial, commercial and institutional operations.

Existing commercial waste processing technologies will be integrated to produce recyclable materials such as paper and plastic, biogas (upgraded to pipeline-quality natural gas) and organic fertilizers. The project will optimize conventional treatment methods, minimize the amount of waste sent to landfill sites and reduce GHG emissions.

Consortium members: Bio-Metha; Biotechnology Research Institute (National Research Council Canada); EBI Energie; EBI Environnement; Gestion Environnementale Econord; and Industries Machinex

Environmental benefit: climate change


12. Lead Organization: Netistix Technologies

A consortium led by Ottawa-based Netistix Technologies seeks to deliver a low-cost vehicle monitoring and information system for use by consumers who wish to reduce vehicle emissions, fuel and life cycle costs, while improving reliability and safety.

The system will analyze both vehicle and driver behaviour data under actual conditions, and report when driving behaviours are inefficient, resulting in more fuel use, or when maintenance is required. An education program will be developed to inform consumers where improvements can be made to reduce fuel consumption and operating costs.

Other key elements of the project are the development of a low-cost, compact in-car device to collect vehicle and driver data, driver behaviour and vehicle performance algorithms, secure communications, and a scaleable system design.

Consortium members: Automotive Industries Association of Canada; Carleton University; Jacques Whitford; and Petro-Canada Certigard

Environmental benefit: climate change/clean air

Forestry, Wood Products, and Pulp and Paper Products

13. Lead Organization: Nexterra Energy Corp., Vancouver

Vancouver-based Nexterra and its partners will install a full-scale biomass (wood waste) gasification system which will be used to heat an existing lime kiln at a pulp mill in western Canada. The direct firing of the synthetic gas - using a dual-fuel (syngas/natural gas) burner nozzle - will potentially enable lime kilns to use gas produced from their own wood residue as an energy source instead of fossil fuels, thereby reducing energy costs as well as GHG emissions.

Consortium members: Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (PAPRICAN); and a major integrated pulp and paper producer

Environmental benefit: climate change/clean air


14. Lead Organization: Clear-Green Environmental

A consortium led by Clear Green Environmental, in Saskatoon, will demonstrate an innovative, three-stage process to treat dead stock and slaughter waste. The process combines pretreatment, anaerobic digestion and nutrient recovery for renewable energy and fertilizer applications.

The project will demonstrate the ability to extract valuable fertilizer nutrients from digested waste, replacing commercial fertilizer. The goal is to minimize or eliminate the need for waste storage and land disposal systems and allow intensive livestock facilities to be located closer to infrastructure, while alleviating concerns over water, air and soil contamination as well as odours.

Consortium members: Ag West Bio; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Agriculture and Bioresource Engineering; Cudworth Pork Investors Group; Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute; Saskatchewan Research Council; SaskPower; Sinnett Pork Farm; and the University of Saskatchewan

Environmental benefit: climate change

15. Lead Organization: Envirogain Saint-Romuald, Que

Envirogain and its partner companies will develop and demonstrate a fertilizer stabilizing and drying process that uses heat from both the new process and Biofertile(r), a previously commercialized hog manure treatment system.

This approach will transform a cost centre into a revenue source by taking hog manure (which would otherwise require treatment and disposal) and converting it into saleable fertilizer, while also reducing GHG emissions. Environmental co-benefits of this project include soil and water quality protection.

Consortium members: F Ménard and William Houde

Environmental benefit: climate change

Since April 2002, SDTC has completed seven funding rounds, committed $169 million to 75 clean technology projects, and leveraged $446 million from project consortia members, for a total portfolio value of $615 million. SDTC continues to be on track to allocate all of its funds up to December 2010. More information is available from AndrÈe Mongeon at SDTC, 613/234-6313, ext 224, E-mail a.mongeon@sdtc.ca, Web site www.sdtc.ca.

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