Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre Photo: Government of Canada

Technologies evaluated at the ACCTC will be applicable to the majority of Alberta’s large CO2 emitters as well as some smaller sources

InnoTech Alberta, an applied research subsidiary of Alberta Innovates, has officially opened the doors of the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC), according to an Alberta Government press release.

InnoTech Alberta owns and operates the “pioneering” clean technology centre. Users of the ACCTC will test and advance carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and conversion technologies that assist in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, by enabling the conversion of CO2 into commercially viable, value-added products.

The centre, located adjacent to the Shepard Energy Centre in Calgary, provides innovators with the ability to test and refine their technologies using flue gas emissions from the natural gas-fired power plant.

The Shepard Energy Centre, jointly owned by ENMAX Corporation and Capital Power Corporation, is Alberta’s largest natural gas-fuelled power facility.

“Our Government is investing in research, clean technology and innovation. We are proud to support this one-of-a-kind facility that inspires bright minds to develop breakthrough technological solutions to reduce carbon emissions and harness the economic opportunities they present,” said Jim Carr Canada’s minister of natural resources.

The ACCTC funding partners include: Natural Resources Canada and the Alberta Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Other partners and collaborators include: Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) and the Shepard Energy Centre, a joint venture between ENMAX and Capital Power. COSIA is funded by seven oil sands companies in the form of a joint industry project led by ConocoPhillips Canada and members Canadian Natural, Cenovus, Devon Canada, Imperial, Nexen and Suncor.

“Our province has always been the place where industry leaders turn challenges into opportunities. This support for innovation and technology is the same type of support that helped Alberta innovators develop SAG-D access to oil sands without excavation or tailings ponds – technology that the rest of the world now relies on,” said Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci.

“The Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre is another way we are proving Alberta is the energy and environmental leader the world needs for the 21st century.”

The first tenants of the ACCTC will be five finalist teams from the US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition.

The competition incents teams from around the world to develop innovative approaches to convert CO2 emissions from fossil fuels into valuable products. This includes a broad suite of solutions, such as alternative building materials, bioplastics and enhanced carbon derivatives and other chemicals used to manufacture a variety of industrial products and consumer goods.

Following completion of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE in early 2020, the ACCTC will continue as a test centre for new technology development in this area. With its unique capabilities, it is expected to become a global hub for innovators.

“We have a world-class resource, we have world-class talent, and now we have a world-class facility right here in Alberta that will help us on our path to finding ways to produce our oil sands with fewer and fewer GHGs. Right next to fulfilling our obligation to address this global challenge, is a great business opportunity – turning one of our biggest liabilities, CO2, into a valuable product,” said COSIA CEO Dan Wicklum.

“It’s a great feeling to be a part of this group of partners along with these five finalists in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE who are finding ways that we as businesses, governments and as a country can improve how we serve society by finding pathways to a lower carbon future.”

Technologies evaluated at the ACCTC will be applicable to the majority of Alberta’s large CO2 emitters as well as some smaller sources.

These have the potential to reduce Alberta’s C02 emissions by up to 50 per cent.

These technologies could also be applicable to industries globally, and the semi-commercial testing offered at the ACCTC will accelerate emission reductions across the oil and gas sector, and other industries.

“ENMAX and Capital Power are very proud that Shepard is the site of the ACCTC, and one of the test facilities in this prestigious competition. Innovation is critical to the future of the energy sector, and we embrace this effort towards a cleaner energy future. The technologies tested here will have a positive impact on reducing emissions across many sectors, including the electricity industry,” said Gianna Manes, president and CEO, ENMAX Corporation.