The Alberta government is investing $15 million to test new technologies to help reduce methane emissions in Canada and around the world.

Alberta has already reduced methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 45 per cent since 2014, but new technologies and innovations are needed to continue reducing emissions. For companies and startups, testing technologies and getting real-world data to move ideas from concept to commercial-ready use is a major barrier.

The Alberta government is investing $15 million over five years for the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF) Accelerator’s Emissions Testing Centre program to test new technologies, reduce emissions and create jobs. The NGIF Accelerator is a national, not-for-profit, industry-led, grant funding organization that runs technology and innovation programs for cleantech startups.  The funding will help more Alberta companies test technologies free of charge in both laboratory and live settings, attract investors and get technologies to market faster.

“We are a global leader in reducing methane emissions, and Alberta technologies are being used around the world,” said Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Protected Areas. “We are removing barriers so our talented startup companies can grow their good ideas, create jobs and support a sustainable oil and gas sector for generations to come.”

The Emissions Testing Centre (ETC) program, established in 2021, provides innovators with free, simulated testing space at the University of Calgary and live testing space at Tourmaline and Perpetual Energy’s West Wolf Lake gas processing plant near Edson, where companies can validate their technologies that measure, monitor or reduce methane emissions.

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“As a proud Emissions Testing Centre partner, Tourmaline is committed to helping develop emerging cleantech companies while providing real solutions to reduce methane emissions. Not only are these companies pioneering innovative technologies, but they’re also creating tangible benefits, from helping our industry mitigate emissions and reduce operating costs to generating high-quality jobs and opportunities for Albertans,” said Mike Rose, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Tourmaline Oil Corp. We are excited about the future of the Emissions Testing Centre program and will be able to accelerate the great work underway with this funding support from the Government of Alberta.”

More than 70 companies have already tested projects through this program, helping advance clean technologies. The new funding will ensure the program continues to help companies de-risk and commercialize their innovative technology solutions.

“The Emissions Testing Centre Lab at the University of Calgary offers startups a flexible and safe environment to test their technologies, allowing them to de-risk and refine their innovations before field testing,” said Professor Ian Gates, associate vice-president of research and innovation, University of Calgary. “This testing provides valuable insights that help accelerate the commercialization of their technologies.”

Technologies tested to date include a highly efficient small industrial natural gas engine led by Convrg Innovations and Spartan Controls, a MethaneTrack™ system that helps clients meet emissions reduction goals by accurately detecting, locating and quantifying methane emissions led by 360 Engineering and Environmental Consulting Ltd., and a valve that uses solar power to lower operational costs and emissions led by Calscan Solutions.

“At Calscan Solutions, we recognize the pivotal role of the Emissions Testing Centre in driving innovation and sustainability within the energy sector,” said Doug Bezpalko, manager of technical sales, Calscan Solutions. “The collaboration between the Alberta government and industry leaders like Tourmaline highlights the importance of the Emissions Testing Centre in fostering advancements that not only boost efficiency but also ensure environmental stewardship. Together, we are shaping a future where cutting-edge technology and responsible resource management go hand in hand.”

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To date, 74 startup companies have enrolled in the Emissions Testing Centre program; 32 have completed their methane testing and reduction technology trials, and 27 projects are currently underway.

Featured image: Staff at Tourmaline and Perpetual Energy’s West Wolf Lake gas processing plant near Edson. Credit: NGIF Accelerator/Government of Alberta.

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