[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Canada backs demonstration-scale algal biorefinery project in the oil sands; Algal Carbon Conversion
May 19, 2013
The Government of Canada is supporting a three-year project that will result in the construction of a $19-million, demonstration-scale facility in Alberta that will use algae to recycle industrial carbon dioxide emissions from an oil sands facility into commercial products such as biofuels. The Algal Carbon Conversion (ACC) Pilot Project is a partnership among the National Research Council of Canada (NRC); Canadian Natural Resources Limited, one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producers in Canada; and Pond Biofuels.
The demonstration-scale algal biorefinery will be established at Canadian Natural’s Primrose South oil sands site, near Bonnyville, Alberta. The demonstration facility will be integrated into the Canadian Natural’s operations with direct access to industrial flue gas emissions, wastewater and waste heat.
State Department issues Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone XL Pipeline: climate change impacts
March 02, 2013
|Comparison of proposed Keystone XL route to previously proposed project segment. Source: Draft SEIS. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of State (DOS) has released its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in response to TransCanada’s May 2012 application for the Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Canada’s oils sands in Alberta to Nebraska. The document is a detailed draft technical review of potential environmental impacts associated with the segment of the pipeline in the US, including: impacts from construction, impacts from potential spills, impacts related to climate change, and economic impacts.
Aside from the potential construction and spill impacts of the pipeline, the scope of the climate change impacts have become the most contentious and politicized issue surrounding the pipeline. The DOS SEIS accordingly takes a detailed look at life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of petroleum products from Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) oil sands crudes compared with reference crudes and the potential impact the pipeline might have on climate change as well as on the future development of the oils sands resource in Canada.
SDTC awards C$1.5M to support Molten Salt Catalyzed Gasification for hydrogen production; targeting reduced GHG footprint for oil sands synthetic crude
February 16, 2013
|Flowchart of the MSG process. Source: Western Hydrogen. Click to enlarge.|
A consortium led by Canada-based Western Hydrogen Ltd. will receive a $C1.5-million investment from Sustainable Development Technology Canada to support the development and commercialization of a new hydrogen manufacturing technology called Molten Salt Catalyzed Gasification (MSG), originally developed at the US Idaho National Laboratory (INL).
Hydrogen is necessary in the upgrading of oil sands bitumen into synthetic crude, but it is a costly and carbon-intensive part of the process, given current hydrogen production technologies. MSG converts natural gas into hydrogen with a 23% reduction in GHG emissions compared to steam methane reforming.
New study concludes oil sands development has significantly increased PAH and DBT loadings in regional lakes; combined with effects of climate change, a “new ecological state” for the lakes
January 09, 2013
A new study by a team from Environment Canada and Queen’s University (Canada) has shown that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) within the sediments of lakes in the Athabasca oil sands region in Canada—particularly C1-C4–alkylated PAHs, increased significantly after development of the oil sands resource began some 50 years ago—followed by significant increases in dibenzothiophenes (DBTs).
Total PAH fluxes in the modern sediments of six study lakes, including one site ∼90 km northwest of the major development area, are now ∼2.5–23 times greater than ∼1960 levels. Total DBT enrichments over the same time period ranged between ∼2.6 and 57 times.
Nissan and Tsinghua University’s Suzhou Automotive Research Institute sign MOU on cooperative research
November 29, 2012
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Suzhou Automobile Research Institute at Tsinghua University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, in which the two parties have agreed to promote a cooperative effort regarding the research of future automotive technology. Aiming to solidify the strategic joint research efforts between Nissan and Tsinghua University, the agreement includes a mutual personnel exchange program designed to take advantage of both parties’ strengths.
While China has grown to become the largest automobile market in the world, Nissan aspires to create and contribute new ideas to the future of its mobility society. In order for Nissan to accomplish this goal, the company believes it needs a strong local partner to aid in the understanding and research of the unique challenges China poses, especially for advanced technologies.
Tailings Technology Roadmap project releases nine development roadmaps for treatment of oil sands fine tailings
August 29, 2012
A collaboration of Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES) and the Oil Sands Tailing Consortium (OSTC), in partnership with Alberta Energy, Natural Resources Canada, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board, released the report from The Tailings Technology Roadmap and Action Plan project. (Earlier post.)
The report provides nine different Tailings Technology Deployment (TDD) Roadmaps to accelerate the implementation of oil sands tailings solutions in Alberta. Each roadmap is made up of a suite of technologies that provide options for unique operating leases and mine characteristics. The roadmaps for the tailings technology suites include:
China’s CNOOC to acquire Canada-based Nexen for $15.1B; offshore oil and gas, oil sands, and shale gas
July 23, 2012
CNOOC Limited—China’s largest producer of offshore crude oil and natural gas and one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in the world—is acquiring all of the Common Shares of Canada-based energy company Nexen Inc. for US$15.1 billion cash. The price represents a premium of 61% relative to the closing price of the Common Shares on the NYSE on 20 July 2012 and a premium of 66% relative to the volume-weighted average price of the Common Shares over the 20 trading days ending 20 July 2012. Nexen’s current debt of approximately US$4.3 billion will remain outstanding.
Nexen is focused on three core businesses: conventional offshore oil and gas; oil sands; and shale gas:
Prototype electric New Flyer transit bus powered by 120 kWh MHI MLiX Li-ion pack in operational testing in Manitoba, Canada
June 08, 2012
An all-electric, battery-powered prototype demonstration bus under joint development by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), the government of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, Red River College and New Flyer Industries Canada ULC has been completed and was recently unveiled in Manitoba, Canada. (Earlier post.) The bus will be demonstrated on the streets of Winnipeg over the next two years.
The 40-foot “E-Bus” is based on New Flyer’s 40-foot Xcelsior heavy-duty transit bus and is powered by a 120 kWh lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack developed by MHI. The $3-million electric bus project costs are split equally between the Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Government of Québec unveils $2.7B climate change action plan; 63% of spending targeting transport
June 05, 2012
The Premier of Québec, Jean Charest; the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, Pierre Arcand; and the Minister of Transport Pierre Moreau unveiled the Canadian province’s 2013-2020 Action Plan on Climate Change (PACC 2020).
The action plan and strategy adaptation represent a total investment of nearly C$2.7 billion (US$2.6 billion). The PACC 2020 is self-financed from the carbon market and the extension until 2014 of the fuel levy and fossil fuels. Almost 63% (C$1.7 billion) of the funding of the action plan will finance measures in the transport sector—specifically developing public transportation, supporting the purchase of equipment that reduces consumption of fossil fuels, and encouraging the use of hybrid trucks and conversion to natural gas.