Alberta Energy Companies at the Forefront of a Net-Neutral CO₂ World
Alberta Energy Companies are at the forefront of a net-neutral CO2 world by using innovative technology to Pipe, Store and Re-use CO₂
The Alberta Energy Industry gets a bad rap when it comes contributing to climate change yet many Canadians are unaware that the Oilsands is by far the largest spender on Clean Tech, to the tune of $1.4 billion a year.
“Canada disproportionately has some project experience and expertise in this,” said Jason Switzer, executive director of the Alberta Clean Technology Industry Alliance, and co-director of the Pembina Institute. “Canada actually punches above its weight in this area.”
One of the most important areas of innovation is CCS technology – carbon capture and sequestration. CCS works by trapping CO₂ at its emission source, transporting it to a storage location via pipelines — often deep underground — and then isolating it to keep it from the atmosphere. Once it’s stored the CO₂ can be used as a resource to create valuable products or services or kept in permanent storage deep underground in geological formations.
Innovative Alberta companies are using CCS technology to build interesting CO₂ bi-products. Starting with ACTL pipeline project, ACTL is a 240-kilometre pipeline that’s part of Alberta’s first open access CCUS infrastructure project. The project involves capturing, transporting and reusing carbon dioxide (CO₂) to boost production from aging oil reservoirs throughout central and southern Alberta.
Using proven technology, the ACTL gathers, compresses, transports and safely stores up to 14.6 million tonnes of CO₂ per year at full capacity. This represents approximately 20% of all current oil sands emissions and is equal to the impact of removing every car in Alberta from the road.
Not only will the ACTL remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and decrease Canada’s carbon footprint, it uses the captured CO₂ for enhanced oil recovery in Alberta,
5 Alberta Companies that are using technology to develop innovative CO₂ products
PRODUCT 1: Specialized sensory fibre optics for Pipeline safety
HIFI – HDS uses specialized fibre optics fully distributed along the pipeline to sense every centimetre, so operators can know exactly where a leak occurred or where there’s potential for a leak. HDS sensing is a 24/7 activity, with a level of accuracy that can detect a pinhole leak. This Calgary based company’s technology set to become the new global standard for pipeline monitoring.
Hifi Engineering won the 2019 Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) Foundation’s Innovation Award for their HDS technology
Click to watch their video:
PRODUCT 2: Capturing and Permanently Storing CO₂
Enhance Energy specializes in low carbon oil production using enhanced oil recovery (EOR) through carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). CCUS involves capturing and compressing the CO2 from sources before, during or after combustion, injecting the CO2 deep into contained geological formations such as depleted oil and gas fields, where it is permanently and safely stored. CO₂ EOR storage increases oil recovery while reducing carbon emissions. Depleted oil fields offer known reservoir capacities and can accept large volumes of CO₂ for enhanced oil production and subsequent storage.
CCUS represents one of the most promising solutions for decarbonizing our energy supply and a powerful tool to prevent CO₂ emissions from entering the atmosphere.
Watch the Enhance Video:
PRODUCT 3: Turning CO₂ into fuel
Carbon Engineering was started by Calgarian Peter Keith, a MIT Grad and UofC Professor, now Harvard Professor, designed a technology that is capable of pulling a ton of CO₂ out of the air each day by using a 100-year-old industrial process made up of integrating an air contactor and a regeneration cycle for continuous capture of atmospheric carbon dioxide and production of pure carbon dioxide. The air contractor absorbs atmospheric carbon into a capture solution to produce a liquid that is rich in carbon rich liquid that can be used to fuel jets or can be sold and used in industrial applications and/or permanently sequestered deep underground.
PRODUCT 4: Turning CO₂ into Carbon Nanotubes / Nanofibre for Wind Turbine Blades, Bikes, Planes and more …
C2CNT, based in Calgary, Canada, has found a way to produce carbon nanotubes 100 times more cheaply than usual. It developed a process for converting carbon dioxide into carbon fibers, or nanotubes, using molten electrolysis. This process, which uses CO₂ and electricity, produces carbon nanofibers, these carbon nanofibers are a stronger and lighter-weight alternative to metal. Valued at over $100,000 per ton, the nanotubes can be used by steel, aluminum, textiles, ceramics and cement producers, and in electronics, packaging, manufacturing and construction. Carbon nanofibers are being used in a wide variety of products such as wind turbine blades, race cars, airplanes and bicycles.
Listen to a BBC interview with Professor Stuart Licht of George Washington University explain Nanofibres
PRODUCT 5: Turning CO₂ into nanoparticle for concrete, plastic and coatings
Another Calgary start-up has developed a process that combines CO₂ with waste products, such as fly ash left over from burning coal or petroleum coke, to create nanoparticles that can be used as additives for concrete, plastic and coatings to enhance performance and increase efficiency.
Watch: Climate Changemaker / Carbon Upcycling Technologies – Apoorv Sinha
The world’s energy is changing in large part due to demand – the types of energy we use to drive cars, heat our homes, and conduct many of our daily activities. “In Canada, we have this conflict, because we have a resource-rich economy, driven by things like the oilsands, but also an environmental preference,” says Steve Oldham, chief executive of Carbon Engineering. “Our technology is a way to generate oil and be environmentally friendly.”
Hopefully in our children’s generation, their renewable energy will be abundant and cheap thanks in large part to the early adoption of innovative net-neutral CO₂ technologies like those being developed in Alberta.
*net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon re-use and removal