Emissions Reduction Alberta invests $2M in four new carbon capture, utilization and storage projects

Mark Lowey
March 9, 2022

Emissions Reduction Alberta is committing more than $2 million to four new carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects in the province worth almost $24 million.

The provincial agency has partnered with Accelerating CCS Technologies (ACT) to support the projects, selected through the international ACT consortium’s recent call for proposals. The projects include investments from eight countries to support commercialization of technologies in Alberta.

“The task of scaling up and deploying CCUS technologies is too great for one company, one organization, or one jurisdiction to take on alone,” said Steve MacDonald, CEO of Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA).

“Building on our international relationships and credibility, ERA is helping to find solutions by bringing the world to Alberta, and by taking Alberta’s innovation to the world,” he said in a statement.

A total of 13 CCUS projects from around the world, worth $68 million in public and private funds, were selected by ACT through a two-stage evaluation process led by an independent international expert panel.

Four of the 13 new ACT-funded projects are led by Alberta and have Canadian partners and consortia of research partners — including companies, universities and research organizations — from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, the U.S. and the U.K.

The CCUS industry in Alberta is growing. Last July, Shell announced plans for its second CCS facility, called Polaris, at the Scotford complex. The announcement followed a proposed hydrogen and CCS facility by Suncor and ATCO, and a carbon transportation and sequestration project by TC Energy and Pembina Pipeline.

“The knowledge that Alberta has in this space is highly acknowledged and serves our ambition to make CCUS a commercially viable mitigation technology,” said Ragnhild Rønneberg, coordinator, ACT, at the Research Council of Norway.

ACT, coordinated by the Research Council of Norway, is a collaboration of research and innovation funding organizations from 16 countries. Alberta, through ERA, is the first sub-national member. It will be virtually impossible for the world to reach net-zero emissions without widespread deployment of CCUS technologies, according to a report by the International Energy Agency.

 Alberta research universities involved in four new projects

The four ACT-funded, Alberta-led projects are:

  • CREATE, project value of $1.8 million (ERA contribution of $543,000), led by Carbonova Corp.

The aim of the CREATE (Carbon Reforming To Economic Additives For Transitioning Into Emission-Less ERA) is to accelerate the development and commercialization of new CCUS technology developed by a spinoff company, Carbonova Corp., of the University of Calgary.

The technology uses a new chemical process to convert waste heat and industrial CO2 streams into valuable products based on carbon nanofibers.

  • RETURN, project value of $11 million (ERA contribution of $345,000), led by Calgary-based Carbon Management Canada (CMC).

RETURN (Reusing Depleted Oil and Gas Fields for CO2 Sequestration) focuses on enabling CO2 injection and storage into depleted oil and gas reservoirs for long-term CO2 storage. The aim is to develop novel solutions for overcoming challenges of high-pressure CO2 injection into low-pressure depleted reservoirs to unlock the potential storage volumes for CO2.

Dr. Don Lawton, PhD, professor emeritus of geophysics at the University of Calgary, is a scientific director at CMC and is involved in the RETURN project.

  • ACTION, project value $7.3 million (ERA contribution of $745,000), led by the University of Alberta.

ACTION (Advanced Multitemporal Modelling and Optimization of CO2 Transport, Utilization and Storage Networks) will establish how an efficient infrastructure, connecting CO2 sources with CO2 geological storage and non-geological utilization options (such as enhanced oil recovery), can be developed as part of regional decarbonization efforts.

“Within Alberta, CCUS is an important component of a portfolio of technologies needed to achieve our climate and energy development goals,” said Dr. Rick Chalaturnyk, PhD, professor of geotechnical engineering at the University of Alberta.

“This support will allow us to establish an assessment tool to support the development of a fit-for-purpose, future-proof CCUS network of expected CO2 supply from a variety of sources,” he said.

  • ENSURE, project value $3.6 million (ERA contribution of $507,000), led by the University of Alberta.

ENSURE (Effective Monitoring of Long-Term Site Stability For Transparent Carbon Capture and Storage Hazard Assessment) will demonstrate the use of micro-seismic monitoring to verify the integrity of the geologic seal — typically overlying caprock — in underground storage reservoirs for large-scale CCS projects.

Advanced analysis tools and other technology will be tested and optimized at the Shell Canada-operated Quest CCS facility at the Scotford Complex (which also includes an oil sands upgrader, oil refinery and chemicals plant) northeast of Edmonton.

Alberta’s current CCUS-related investments include:

  • $745 million for the Shell Quest facility;
  • $495 million for the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, which transports captured CO2 for use in enhanced oil recovery operations;
  • ERA’s $35-million Grand Challenge: Innovative Carbon Uses;
  • the NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize (Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance contributed $10 million); and
  • $10 million for the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre in Calgary, which supports R&D on new technologies to convert CO2 into useful products.


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