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Canada to Fund C$42.5 Million in Energy Projects from Tar Sands to Solar Hydrogen

In its seventh round of project funding, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) will provide C$42.5 million (US$36 million) in new funding for clean energy projects.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada is a foundation created by the Government of Canada that operates a $550 million fund to support the development and demonstration of clean technologies. Since April 2002, SDTC has completed seven funding rounds, committed $169 million to 75 clean technology projects, and leveraged $446 million from project consortia members, for a total portfolio value of $615 million.

With this round, SDTC is funding 15 demonstration projects. The private and public sector consortia partners behind the projects are investing an additional $91 million, representing a more than 2:1 ratio of industry-partner contribution to SDTC investment.

Some of the 15 funded projects include:

  • A consortium led by AirScience Technologies Inc. will demonstrate a new process, Terragas, to economically produce hydrogen from biogenous feedstocks such as landfill gas. The project will use two new process technologies under license from Unitel Technologies: one for cleaning landfill gas and the second to convert the clean gas to hydrogen and CO2.

    The cleaning process will cost-effectively remove trace contaminants from biogas that would otherwise damage internal combustion engines, turbines or an auto-thermal reforming reactor, without having to dry the gas and/or remove oxygen and CO2. Production of hydrogen from landfill gas at a commercial scale would generate an estimated 4-6 times the economic value of electricity produced from landfill gas.

  • A consortium led by Hatch, Ltd., will design, build and operate a 2,000-barrels-of-oil-per-day demonstration plant to field test a patented process (N-Solv) for in-situ extraction of oil from tar sands using a pure condensing solvent. The principal advantages of this process are commercially attractive oil-production rates with a 90% reduction in energy costs and an effective 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional steam injection.

    In addition to that, the process does not consume any water and produces an enhanced-quality oil product with higher value. The N-Solv demonstration plant will provide the data required to confirm the key technical, geological, environmental and economic parameters of the process. An oil company will host the demonstration plant.

  • A consortium led by Netistix Technologies Corporation seeks to deliver a low-cost vehicle monitoring and information system. It targets consumers who wish to reduce emissions, fuel, and lifecycle costs, while improving vehicle reliability and safety. The system will indicate real situations when driving behaviours are inefficient, resulting in more fuel use, or when maintenance is required. The system analyzes both vehicle and driver behaviour data and provides reporting mechanisms to consumers on their driving history.

    An education program will be developed to inform consumers where improvements can be made to reduce fuel consumption and operating costs. Other key elements of the project are the development of a low-cost, compact in-car device to collect vehicle and driver data, driver behaviour and vehicle performance algorithms, secure communications, and a scalable system design.

  • The Petroleum Technology Research Centre and its partners will develop, demonstrate and evaluate a more environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process for heavy oil reservoirs in western Canada. The technology uses a solvent vapour extraction process instead of steam to recover the heavy oil, reducing CO2 emissions and fresh water use by more than 90%.

  • A consortium led by SHEC LABS will demonstrate hydrogen production using solar energy, featuring Dry Fuel Reformation (DFR) reactors, unique solar concentrator designs and Direct Water Splitting (DWS) technologies.

    Natural gas will be used initially to verify the performance of the DFR systems, with the ultimate goal of testing the complete DFR process using landfill gas (methane) at the project’s location, the City of Regina Fleet Street landfill.

    A key project objective is to demonstrate that SHEC LABS technology can be cost-competitive with steam methane reformation as well as dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.

  • A consortium led by Vaperma will develop and demonstrate an advanced dehydration process for the biofuel industry using an innovative polymer membrane to separate water vapor from organic compounds such as ethanol. The process offers increased energy efficiency—reducing energy costs by up to 40%—lower greenhouse gas emissions, easy integration into any fuel-grade ethanol process, modularity, flexibility, simple operation and low maintenance.

SDTC will launch its next call for Statements of Interest (SOIs) on January 18, 2006. The upcoming call for SOIs will include a request for projects with technologies that address climate change, clean air, and water and soil quality issues.


Harvey D

Very interesting canadian government financed research projects. The N-Solv in-situ tar sands extraction project is most interesting because it could reduce the water and power required while reducing the pollution created, making the tar sands activities more acceptable.

However, with their $$ billions in present and future NET profits, one would think that the OIL firms could be convinced/forced to finance 100% of such projects.

Cameron Dell

When your paying 62% tax at the pump why should oil companies pay for all the R and D. There not stupid. They let the bigger partner pick-up the tab. One of the problems with this is they have a different agendas. There not looking for the best technology but instead the have to get elected every 4 years. There's a big pay back for the people that got them their. Their's been numerous books wrote on this subject of this fallacy but people forget and learn to live with a lower standard of living.


62% tax? Come on? In B.C. Provincial tax is a fixed rate of 14.5 cents per litre (20.5 cents in Vancouver the extra covers transit projects), the Feds levy 10 cents per litre also fixed (5 cents now go to municipalities) and GST at 7% which is refunded to most companies. So at $ 1.00 per litre worst case that gives us 37.5 cents in Vancouver and 31.5 cents in the rest of B.C. going to government. I say right on, the government has all the reponsibility for roads and transit services. The oil sands are destroying the water table 'for free'. If they were held accountable they would develop an alternative on their own.

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