Cleantech in the Oil Patch – New Investments Announced


GLOBE-Net, March 4, 2015 – Over $20.6 million for eight clean technology projects in Alberta designed to reduce emissions and improve efficiency in the oil patch have been announced by the federal government as part of the funding programs managed by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

The projects 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).

“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 Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

These projects are examples of how developments in Alberta’s oil patch are generating innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and negative environmental impacts. For example:

  • Only 15 percent 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.
  • A key challenge facing pipelines is the ability to quickly identify low-volume fluid leaks. Hifi Engineering will demonstrate a continuous monitoring system for oil pipelines that will quickly identify and characterize low-level leaks, allowing operators to act before potential spills are released into the surrounding environment.
  • Natural gas flaring, this process burns off approximately 140 billion m3/yr. globally — an amount equivalent to Canada’s total gas production. Questor Technology will produce a technology, called HeatQuest, that puts that flared gas to good use: producing heat and energy.
  • In existing gas pipelines, small leaks can grow and lead to pipeline ruptures. Pure Technologies’ SmartBall is a high-resolution, un-tethered, free-swimming acoustic in-line leak detection tool that has proven effective for water and oil pipelines. This project adapts the technology to gas pipelines by incorporating the ability to detect the acoustic signatures of gas leaks.

SDTC’s SD Tech Fund™ has supported 269 projects with $684 million allocated by the federal government. Roughly 57 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.

More details on each of the projects to be funded are available here.

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