Alberta opens second round of Industrial Transformation Challenge

Alberta government investing $50 million to reduce emissions and waste in province

Alberta opens second round of Industrial Transformation Challenge

The Alberta government is challenging industry employers to come up with innovative projects to help reduce emissions and waste in the province.

The provincial government is investing $50 million for the second round of the Industrial Transformation Challenge.

“We are helping develop, test and commercialize the technologies that companies need to stay competitive and attract talent while they drive innovation,” said Rebecca Schulz, minister of environment and protected areas. “The last industrial funding challenge led to more than a dozen ground-breaking projects, and I look forward to seeing even more impressive ideas this year.”

Late in 2023, Dow announced it is investing $11.5 billion to build the world's first net-zero emissions ethylene cracker and derivatives site in Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta.

Eligible projects for Industrial Transformation Challenge 2024

The Industrial Transformation Challenge focuses on scale-up, pilot, demonstration and first-of-their-kind commercial projects for use in the agriculture, forestry, industrial manufacturing, energy and other natural resource sectors. 

It will help these industries not only reduce emissions and waste, but also cut costs and stay competitive in global markets, according to the provincial government.

The competition is open to a wide range of projects. For example, it could fund initiatives to help eliminate methane emissions, improve thermal energy storage, or reduce emissions in everyday agriculture and forestry operations. It could also include practical projects like fuel switching and electrification, critical minerals extraction and more.

Applicants and their technologies can originate from anywhere in the world, but projects must be piloted, demonstrated or deployed in Alberta and show significant emissions reduction and economic benefits within the province. 

Winning employers will be eligible for up to $10 million per project, with a minimum request of $500,000.

Employers can submit their applications until June 21, 2024. The successful projects will be announced in early 2025.

“The Government of Alberta and Emissions Reduction Alberta continue to work with industry to reduce emissions by investing in the testing and scale-up of new technologies,” said Roger Ashfield, managing director, Mercer Peace River. “In the forest industry, Emissions Reduction Alberta has supported several projects that reduce emissions by capturing waste heat and reducing fuel requirements for transporting and processing wood. It is unlikely these projects would have occurred without this leadership and support.”

An increase in employers’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment leads to higher profits, according to a previous Infosys report.

Initially launched in 2022, the Industrial Transformation Challenge, led to a commitment of more than $60 million in funding to 14 projects worth over $225 million to advance technology and innovation that can drive emissions reduction across Alberta’s industrial landscape.

Last year, the Alberta government and Emissions Reduction Alberta funded 14 projects with the potential to reduce 700,000 tonnes of emissions by 2030. The included funding for:

  • Calgary District Heating, for its new heating and thermal energy storage technologies
  • Canadian Pacific Kansas City, to convert diesel-electric locomotives to hydrogen
  • ZS2 Technologies, to transform how cement is made and used
  • Canadian Forest Products, to develop new technologies using geothermal energy in forestry operations, among other projects.

“Government of Alberta funding through Emissions Reduction Alberta’s initial Industrial Transformation Challenge is helping District Energy lower the carbon footprint of Calgary’s thriving Rivers District and downtown core,” said Jason Grabinsky, director of development and innovation, Calgary District Heating. “This ongoing support shows a commitment from the province to enable resilient, reliable and sustainable thermal energy production.”

To date, Emissions Reduction Alberta has committed $935 million in provincial funding toward 267 projects worth $8.8 billion. These are estimated to reduce 42.5 million tonnes of emissions by 2030.

Workers see opportunities for improvement from employers when it comes to their ESG efforts, according to a previous Robert Half report.

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