​Alberta, Ottawa give $20 million to Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre, oilsands XPRIZE teams to be first tenants

The new facility will be housed at the Shepard Energy Centre in south Calgary. Image: Enmax

A joint funding announcement from the federal and provincial governments in Calgary Friday injects $20 million into a new facility to advance technologies that will turn CO2 into valuable products.

The Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC), operated by a subsidiary of Alberta Innovates, will be located at the Shepard Energy Centre in Calgary, which is owned by Enmax and Capital Power.

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) is a partner in the project, and will provide its first tenants: finalists in the natural gas track of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE.

The competition was launched in 2015 and also features a coal track at Wyoming’s Integrated Test Centre.

“Our government is invested in innovation, and we are proud to support this one-of-a-kind facility, where creative minds will come together to help Canada lead the world in developing new, sustainable practices that ease the transition to a cleaner energy future and create good jobs for the middle class,” Canadian natural resources minister Jim Carr said in a statement.

The NRG COSIA XPRIZE competition began with 46 entrants, narrowing to the field of 27 semi-finalist teams announced in October 2016.

“Among the teams competing are innovative carbon capture technology companies, top-tier academic institutions, non-profits and new start-ups, hailing from Canada, China, India, Switzerland, Scotland and the United States. Nine of the 27 semi-finalist teams are from Canada,” COSIA says.

“Ten finalists will be announced in early 2018 and will share a $2.5 million purse to test their technologies at one of two commercialization centres. Ultimately, the winning team in both the natural gas and coal tracks will be awarded a $7.5 million grand prize in the spring of 2020.”

The province says the ACCTC will also provide services to Emissions Reductions Alberta’s $35-million Grand Challenge winners - another global effort to support the commercialization of CO2 utilization technologies.