SDTC Invests $20.6 Million In Eight Energy And Clean Technology Projects In Alberta

EDMONTON, Alta. -- The federal government's Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is investing $20.6 million for eight clean technology projects in Alberta, which will support jobs, economic growth and the environment. The projects are benefitting from the Government of Canada's investment in SDTC's SD Tech Fund as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan.

These development projects (details below) include:
• Field Upgrading will receive $5,200,000 to work on a technology that partially upgrades heavy oils by removing sulphur, heavy metals and acids and by reducing the need to add diluents. This technology will also eliminate certain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (demonstration site: Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta).
• Verolube Inc. will receive $3,994,000 to develop a technology that recycles used oil into marketable products (demonstration site: Bowden, Alberta).
• Steeper Energy Canada in Calgary will receive $3,000,000 to transform biomass feedstock, which is usually disposed of in a landfill or by other means, into a renewable alternative that can then be used to dilute heavy oil (demonstration site: Peace River, Alberta).
• Verdant Global will receive $2,500,000 for its project on growing plants indoors, using less energy and at a lower cost than traditional greenhouses, while avoiding GHG emissions from transporting produce from other sources (demonstration site: Calgary, Alberta).
• Hifi Engineering Inc. will receive $2,000,000 to demonstrate a technology that can continuously monitor and detect low level leaks in oil and gas pipelines, a procedure that will prevent product release into the environment (demonstration site: Calgary, Alberta).
• Questor Technology will receive $1,978,000 to develop a technique that captures waste heat from incinerators and other heat sources and turns it into electricity (demonstration site: Grande Prairie, Alberta).
• Pure Technologies Ltd. will receive $1,000,000 to test its SmartBall tool to detect leaks in natural gas pipelines, preventing release into the environment (demonstration site: Calgary, Alberta). and
• Luxmux Technology will receive $980,350 to produce an energy-efficient heavy oil recovery tool aimed at improving the control and quality of steam used to separate sand from oil, thus reducing GHG emissions and water usage (demonstration site: Calgary, Alberta).

In 2013, the Government of Canada announced $325 million over eight years in support for SDTC for advanced research projects resulting in a cleaner environment. SDTC's SD Tech Fund has supported 269 projects with $684 million allocated by the federal government. Fifty-seven of the more mature companies supported by SDTC have received $2.5 billion in follow-on financing as of December 2013, meaning that for every dollar invested by Canada in these companies, the marketplace has responded with $14 of private capital.

The SD Tech Fund supports projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water and clean soil, providing solutions to key Canadian industries that increase efficiency and enhance environmental responsibility.

"The projects announced today are great examples of the Canadian clean tech initiatives and true entrepreneurship that drive SDTC's portfolio. By supporting these innovative technologies, SDTC is investing in efficiency and environmental performance — which translates into a cleaner environment. We look forward to working with these companies to get their products to market successfully," said Jane Pagel, acting CEO of SDTC.

"Our technology is a real breakthrough in heavy oil upgrading. We are thrilled that the federal government, through SDTC's due diligence and funding, has recognized the economic value of bringing low emissions upgrading back to Canada. Our de-sulphurization and upgrading (DSU) technology surgically removes all the nasty stuff from heavy oil like acids, metals and sulphur without leaving coke or asphaltenes behind. At the same time, it makes the heavy oil significantly lighter so that far less diluent is required to ship it to market and has global benefits by providing a low-sulfur fuel option for the shipping industry," said Neil Camarta, president and CEO of Field Upgrading Limited.

"Following more than a decade of research, laboratory testing and development, VeroLube, Inc. is ready to proceed with its $56 million used motor oil proof of concept re-refinery. Thanks in large part to support from the Government of Canada through SDTC, the company will produce the world's first Group III synthetic grade base lubricating base oil from re-refined used motor oil. The SDTC grant was a major catalyst in assisting our financing to allow this important green energy project to be built," said Leslie Wulf, founder and director, Verolube Inc.

"Steeper Energy Canada is proud to be building toward the supply of large volumes of renewable fuel oil, based on technology being advanced here in Canada, for the benefit of Canadian energy exporters and refiners. Because of support from the Government of Canada through Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Steeper Energy Canada is able to commercialize its patented Hydrofaction technology that will contribute renewable hydrocarbon molecules based on the transformation of Canadian forestry industry wastes in order to help reduce Canada's carbon footprint and aid heavy oil movement through pipelines across Canada and the USA," said Perry Toms, CEO, Steeper Energy Canada Ltd.

"Thanks in part to a strong investment from the Government of Canada, Verdant Global will be able to commercialize an advanced plant growing system that will allow Canadians to eat fresh fruit and vegetables all year round. As a result, we will see less pollution from transport trucks and less spoiled produce as it is transported across North America," said Doug James, CEO, Verdant Global.

"We feel the support that SDTC and the Government of Canada have provided us has absolutely accelerated Hifi's ability to develop and commercialize our HDS technology. This next-generation platform sensitivity and fidelity is going to enhance the energy industry's future and achieve the goal of 100 per cent safety," said Steven Koles, CEO, Hifi Engineering.

"Questor is very pleased and grateful for the $1.9-million support provided by the Government of Canada through SDTC to develop, demonstrate and commercialize our waste heat to power technology, and this funding will be a key factor in the success and the acceleration of that initiative. This technology will have a significant impact world-wide on air quality, energy efficiency and sustainability while offering the opportunity to reduce GHG's at a cost of less than $3/tonne of CO2 equivalent," said Audrey Mascarenhas, president and CEO, Questor Technology Inc.

"Thanks to support from the Government of Canada through SDTC support, Pure Technologies has been able to fast-track the development and demonstration of our technologies. This has allowed us to commercialize new technologies that have helped us become a world leader in inspection, monitoring and management of critical pipeline infrastructure," said Xiangjie Kong, director and general manager, Pure Technologies Ltd.

"Luxmux is pleased to develop a new technology that will help the oil industry measure steam quality more accurately and efficiently. Thanks in part to support from the Government of Canada through Sustainable Development Technology Canada, our new technology will allow operators to maximize steam quality from steam generators, reducing per-barrel emissions and increasing production," said Yonathan Dattner, president, Luxmux Technology Corporation.

Field Upgrading Limited — Petroleum Partial Upgrading Technology
Sector: Energy Exploration and Production
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary)/Clean Air (co-benefit)
SDTC funding: $5,200,000
Total project value: $18.8 million
Currently, over one million barrels per day of bitumen are blended with diluent in order to move it through pipelines throughout Canada and to the United States for upgrading and refining. Diluent is energy-intensive to produce and transport to the oilfields for use. There exists a huge opportunity to partially upgrade the bitumen in Canada before sending it on for refining. This project will demonstrate Field Upgrading's desulfurization and upgrading technology (DSU), an innovative partial upgrading technology that uses sodium to selectively remove sulphur and other impurities from the bitumen, producing the necessary upgraded bitumen. The reactivity of the sodium eliminates the need for many conventional upgrader process units by combining sulphur removal, metals precipitation and upgrading in one step. The DSU process reduces GHG life-cycle emissions by over six per cent when compared with conventional upgraders. In addition, the technology completely eliminates the emission of sulphur oxides from the upgrading process. This technology could reduce capital costs by 50 per cent and operating costs by 30 per cent when compared with conventional upgraders.
Consortium Members:
Field Upgrading Ltd.
Aux Sable Canada Ltd.

Verolube Inc. — Commercializing the Proprietary ReGen Technology for Re-refining Used Oil Into High-Quality, High-Value and Environmentally Responsible Lubricant and Fuel Products
Economic Sector: Waste Management
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary)/Clean Air (co-benefit)
SDTC Investment: $3,994,000
Total Project Value: $12.1 million
Only 15 per cent of used oil is recycled. VeroLube Inc. is commercializing its ReGen technology for the recycling of used oil into marketable lubricants, diesel fuel, fuel oil and other products. The technology employs an innovative combination of proprietary technologies with proven conventional processes and equipment. The project will focus on scaling up the technology and modularization, which allows for a more cost-effective simultaneous processing of multiple streams of feedstock, as a last step before commercialization. Through the ReGen recycling process, 78 per cent less energy will be used to produce new oil, while CO2 emissions will be reduced by nearly 80 per cent.
Consortium Members:
VeroLube Inc.
Parkland Fuel Corporation
The Prasino Group Canada Ltd.

Steeper Energy Canada Ltd. — Hydrofaction CPS
Economic Sector: Energy Exploration and Production
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change/Clean Water
SDTC Investment: $3,000,000
Total Project Value: $10.5 million
Of the 3.2 million barrels a day produced by Canada's oil industry, 1.7 million barrels are heavy oil. This heavy oil does not flow easily within the pipelines designed to transport it, so operators thin it out using a product called a diluent. Steeper Energy Canada's Hydrofaction technology is a catalytic hydrothermal process that transforms biomass feedstock such as forestry or agricultural residues into synthetic bio-crude oil, which can then be used as a renewable diluent. This measure reduces the use and associated costs of imported diluent while improving Canada's overall energy industry carbon footprint; furthermore, the synthetic bio-crude oil can be refined to drop-in fuels such as diesel and jet fuel using existing North American refinery infrastructure.
Consortium Members:
Steeper Energy Canada Ltd.
Alberta Innovates Technology Futures
Fortistar LLC

Verdant Global — Indoor Urban Farm
Economic Sector: Agriculture
Environmental Benefits: Clean Air/Clean Water/Clean Soil
SDTC Investment: $2,500,000
Total Project Value: $7.6 million

Imagine a fresh strawberry, fully ripened and sweet — and locally grown in Canada in February. It could happen, thanks to an integrated indoor food-growing system enabling sustainable, year-round, controlled-atmosphere agriculture at a commercial scale in urban centres. Verdant Global has designed a system that uses water mist (aeroponics), low-energy lighting and high-density tray-and-trough configurations, all adapted to fit in a standard urban industrial building. The process is specifically designed to optimize the growth of a variety of plants without sunlight while handling the needs of multiple crops on various crop cycles. These indoor urban farms will cost less to build than a greenhouse and use less energy to operate. The system avoids the need to transport fruits and vegetables hundreds of kilometres and the related GHG emissions.
Consortium Members:
Verdant Global
B M Potter Consultants Ltd.
Sunterra Quality Foods Inc.
Tava/Codema Systems Group

Hifi Engineering — Pipeline Monitoring Using High-Fidelity Sensors
Economic Sector: Energy Exploration and Production
Environmental Benefits: Clean Water/Clean Soil
SDTC Investment: $2,000,000
Total Project Value: $5.9 million
In Canada, nearly 73,000 kilometres of oil and gas pipeline move approximately one billion barrels of product per year. A key challenge facing pipeline operators is the ability to accurately and quickly identify low-volume fluid leaks, allowing them to repair those leaks and prevent spills. Hifi Engineering will demonstrate a continuous monitoring system for oil pipelines that will quickly identify and characterize low-level leaks in new and existing pipe, allowing operators to act before potential spills are released into the surrounding environment. Using specially designed fibre optic cables installed within or beside pipelines, Hifi will monitor several kilometres of pipeline at a time on a continuous basis, initially focusing market rollout to environmentally sensitive or populated areas.
Consortium Members:
Hifi Engineering Inc.
Enbridge Inc.

Questor Technology Inc. — HeatQuest
Sector: Power Generation
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary)/Clean Air (co-benefit)
SDTC funding: $1,978,000
Total project value: $5.9 million
Industrial plants, including petroleum refineries, natural gas processing plants and chemical plants, burn off flammable waste gases that are produced by everyday operations. Called natural gas flaring, this process burns off approximately 140 billion m3/yr. globally — an amount equivalent to Canada's total gas production. This project will produce a technology, called HeatQuest, that puts that flared gas to good use: producing heat and energy. HeatQuest will capture waste heat from incinerators and other heat sources using high-efficiency heat exchangers and thermal conversion devices that convert heat to electricity.

Consortium Members
Questor Technology Inc. (QTI)
University of Toronto
Journey Energy

Pure Technologies Ltd. — Innovative and Cost-Effective In-Line Leak Detection Tool for Gas Pipelines
Economic Sector: Energy Exploration and Production
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change
SDTC Investment: $1,000,000
Total Project Value: $3 million
Within existing pipelines in Canada and the United States, small leaks can grow and lead to pipeline ruptures, causing damage to the environment. The SmartBall is a high-resolution, un-tethered, free-swimming acoustic in-line leak detection tool. Pure Technologies has proven the effectiveness of the SmartBall for water and oil pipelines. This project adapts existing technology to gas pipelines by incorporating the ability to detect the acoustic signatures of gas leaks. The tool reports back to the user, allowing for quick detection of the location of the leak and therefore quick remediation.
Consortium Members:
Pure Technologies
Alliance Pipeline Ltd
Plains Midstream Canada
City of Calgary

Luxmux Technology Corp. — Steam Quality Optimization in Thermally Enhanced Heavy Oil Recovery
Economic Sector: Energy Exploration and Production
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change/Clean Air/Clean Water
SDTC Investment: $980,350
Total Project Value: $3 million
Most of the oil in Canada's oilsands is recoverable using specialized thermal techniques such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), which uses steam to soften the oil underground and separate it from the sand. Ensuring that steam generators are operating efficiently is crucial to efficient and environmentally responsible operations. One way to determine operating performance is to monitor steam quality and flow rates. Luxmux and Agar will be the first companies to demonstrate and market a novel chip technology that will enable a high level of precision monitoring. Their Silicon Nano-photonic Fourier Transform Near-Infrared Spectrometer On-Chip (Nano-Spec FTNIR Chip) technology is a complete process-measurement solution that could increase the quality of steam by up to four per cent on once-through steam generator (OTSG) boilers, while avoiding tube scaling, which results in tube overheating and tube rupture. The solution will assist heavy-oil producers to increase production, decrease operating costs, reduce GHG emissions and decrease water consumption.
Consortium Members:
Luxmux Technology Corporation
Agar Canada
Cenovus Energy
Sustainable Development Technology Canada
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