May 29, 2006

Ottawa, Alberta jointly invest over $16M in CO2 storage, other environmental technologies

The federal and Alberta governments are investing a total of $16.6 million in ten innovation and economic development projects under the Western Economic Partnership Agreement. Many of the projects are intended to foster innovation in, and commercialization of, environmental technologies.

Of particular note is a $6-million research project investigating geological storage of carbon dioxide and a $2.13 million initiative to further develop fuel cell technology in western Canada. The partnership will also direct $1.8 million toward development of the bioproducts industry in Alberta and will invest $900,000 in services to build business capacity among early-stage environmental technology firms. Project summaries and partners are summarized as follows.

The $6-million CO2 management program will be set up and run by the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI), working with the Energy Innovation Network (EnergyINet) on behalf of Alberta Innovation and Science. The work will include development of an implementation plan for research to be conducted on the geological sequestration of carbon dioxide. Researchers from the Alberta Research Council, the Alberta Geological Survey, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Regina will seek out suitable commercial CO2 source-sink opportunities within the western Canadian sedimentary basin and perform risk assessment studies for storage issues. The project will also create and implement a monitoring, measurement and verification program for the Penn West CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery Field Project. More information is available from Dr Surindar Singh at AERI, 780/422-0046, or Brent Lakeman at the Alberta Research Council, 780/450-5274.

The AERI is also leading the $2.13-million Western Canada Fuel Cell Initiative, collaborating with EnergyINet to establish a fuel cell research program for the conversion of stranded industrial hydrogen to electricity. This program will support the systematic investigation, evaluation and development of "impure" hydrogen fuel cell technology under the auspices of the Western Canada Fuel Cell Initiative, a network of western Canadian universities working on fuel cell and related technologies. Research will be carried out at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary and the Alberta Research Council. More information is available from Richard Nelson at AERI, 780/427-0286.

The $900,000 in funding for the innovation and technology commercialization capacity building project will be provided to CETAC - West, the Canadian Environmental Technology Advancement Corporation (West). The purpose of this project is to design a suite of services for small environmental technology firms in the early stages of technology development and commercialization. This will help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this sector increase their business and management capabilities, and bring products and ideas into the marketplace faster. More information is available from Margaret Kelly, CETAC-West vice-president, 403/777-9586.

The Biomass Energy for Regional Development project is receiving nearly $988,000 in funding from the two levels of government. AERI will be working with the Alberta Forestry Research Institute (AFRI), in conjunction with the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute (AARI) to assess and evaluate existing technologies and select an appropriate group of technologies to demonstrate a small- to medium-scale biomass-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) generation system. With this project, the partners hope to set the groundwork for full-scale commercial demonstration. More information is available from Don Harrison, managing director of AFRI, 780/427-2567.

Finally, a $1.2-million investment will be used by the Alberta Research Council to establish the Agriculture Bio-Waste Utilization Centre. The mandate of the new centre will be to manage and utilize agricultural bio-waste streams, i.e. manure, dead livestock, rendering materials and food processing wastes, and convert them into revenue-generating products such as bioenergy, biofertilizer and other bioproducts. More information is available from Xiaomei Li, at the Alberta Research Council, 780/450-5290.

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