ANNUAL $50 MILLION INDUSTRIAL TRANSFORMATION CHALLENGE TO SPEARHEAD EMISSIONS REDUCTION ACROSS ALBERTA’S INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPE

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. Recognizing the strong pool of proposals received in the first iteration, and to underscore the province’s commitment to finding clean technology solutions across sectors, the Industrial Transformation Challenge is now an annual funding opportunity that will launch each Spring.

Deadline for Submission

Friday, June 21, 2024
5 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (UTC-6h)

This year’s Industrial Transformation Challenge will provide up to $50 million towards technology scale-up, pilot demonstration, and first-of-kind projects that present transformative solutions for Alberta’s industrial sectors and contribute to reducing emissions and catalyzing economic opportunities. Funding is open to applicants from across Alberta’s industrial and natural resource sectors, including petrochemicals, cement, agriculture, forest products, manufacturing, energy, and more. Funds are sourced from the Government of Alberta through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund.

Successful applicants are eligible for up to $10 million per project with a minimum request of $500,000. The maximum ERA contribution to a single project will be no more than 50 per cent of the project’s eligible expenses. The application deadline is  Friday, June 21, at 5 p.m. MDT (UTC-6h). Late submissions will not be accepted. An informational webinar will be held on Monday, May 27, from 10-11 a.m. MDT (UTC-6h).

Click the links below for more details:

WHO SHOULD APPLY

Innovators, technology developers, industrial facility owners and operators, industrial associations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), research and development organizations, universities, not-for-profit organizations, government research labs, and individuals were invited to apply. While technology solutions can originate from anywhere globally, they must be piloted, demonstrated, or deployed in Alberta. Applicants are not required to be located in Alberta, but all applicants must demonstrate a clear value proposition for the province.

Partnerships were encouraged. Consortiums help attract and retain highly skilled workers, increase Alberta’s innovation capacity, engage local communities, and leverage complementary resources. Applicants are encouraged to partner with Alberta’s post-secondary and research institutions, Indigenous communities, co-operative organizations, and municipalities where they can.

FOCUS AREAS

The Call is not limited to any particular focus area or technology, however ERA is seeking high-quality projects in areas of high strategic interest or where known technology gaps exist. The following list provides a non-exhaustive set of example technologies that ERA believes could represent compelling opportunities in this Call:

  • Agricultural and Forestry Innovation
    • Improved nutrient and feed management
    • Novel fertilizers
    • Detection, monitoring, measurement, and/or abatement of methane emissions from agriculture/forestry operations.
    • Novel use of sensors, robotics, and software for smart farming techniques
    • Novel tillage, seeding, and harvesting techniques
    • Advanced genetics and omics for crops and livestock
    • Land use management practices
    • Value-added novel bioproducts (e.g., from forest residues or crops)
  • Fuel switching and low-carbon heat
    • Onsite deployment of geothermal, solar thermal, nuclear, clean hydrogen, or bioenergy at industrial facilities (i.e., behind the meter, novel generation)
    • Process electrification (e.g., electric boilers, industrial heat pumps, separation/purification, microwave/infrared technologies, etc.)
    • Onsite deployment of energy storage including thermal energy storage
  • Novel industrial processes
    • New chemistries for cement (incl. novel clinker substitutes), fertilizer, plastics, etc.
    • Novel oil and gas extraction, processing, and refining (conventional, oil sands, etc.)
    • Clean feedstocks (e.g., hydrogen, biogenic, waste, etc.) for manufacturing and chemicals
    • Novel refrigeration technologies
    • Non-thermal processing
    • Novel industrial water treatment and waste management
  • Novel approaches for reduction/elimination of methane emissions (e.g. fugitive, vented, diffuse, etc.)
  • Major industrial facility upgrades in support of emissions reductions
  • Development of advanced materials production, manufacturing, and/or recovery sectors
    • Critical minerals (e.g., lithium, vanadium, etc.)
    • Energy materials (e.g., supply chains for batteries, electrolyzers, supercapacitors, superconductors, etc.)
    • Hydrocarbons beyond combustion (e.g., bitumen derived carbon fibre)

This Call is seeking transformative opportunities to position Alberta for success in a future carbon-neutral economy. All proposed solutions must be compatible with decarbonization strategies and must demonstrate a strong line of sight towards realized emissions reductions.

Out of scope technologies include:

Opportunities that are out of scope for this Call include:

  •  GHG detection, quantification, measurement and monitoring technologies in sectors other than agriculture, forestry, and natural land use.
  • Standalone FEED studies.
  • Emissions/energy inventory or estimation software; energy audits or conservation plans.
  • Carbon capture and sequestration.
  • Production of clean fuels such as hydrogen or biofuels (except where used onsite for fuel-switching purposes).
  • Standalone power generation facilities.
  • Zero-emission vehicles or infrastructure.
  • Business-as-usual deployment of efficiency technologies such as engine performance upgrades or commercial/residential building efficiency improvements (these are covered under ERA’s ESB, ETP, and SPEED programs).
  • Incremental industrial efficiency improvements (e.g., marginally reducing energy/emissions without a clear path to carbon neutrality).
  • Development of GHG emissions offset protocols or crediting systems.
  • Digital solutions for industrial efficiency without a direct line of sight to emissions reductions at a specific site and without an industrial partner (e.g. digital twins, emissions estimation software, etc.).

APPROVAL PROCESS

Submissions will be selected through ERA’s competitive review process. A team of experts in science, engineering, business development, commercialization, financing, and GHG quantification will conduct an independent, rigorous, transparent review overseen by a Fairness Monitor.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT STAGE

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are invited for projects that will advance technology to the stages of field pilot, demonstration, or first-of-kind commercial implementation by project completion, as described below:

  • Field Test/Pilot: At this stage, the solution is ready to be field tested in an operational environment. Projects in this category include scale up of prototypes to representative pilot scale and subsequent in-field testing of pilot units.
  • Demonstration: At this stage of development, the technology or innovation is approaching the final commercial product and representative systems have been built. Projects in this category include demonstration of near- or full-commercial-scale systems in an operational environment.
  • First-of-Kind Implementation: At this stage, the technology is ready for first-of-kind commercial deployment. Projects in this category will involve design, construction, and operation of the technology in its final commercial form, with the intent to operate the technology for its full commercial life.

ABOUT ERA

Emissions Reduction Alberta has been investing revenues from the carbon price paid by large emitters to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative clean technology solutions for 15 years. Since established in 2009, ERA has committed nearly $935 million toward 267 projects worth $8.8 billion that are helping to reduce GHGs, create competitive industries and are leading to new business opportunities in Alberta. These projects are estimated to deliver cumulative GHG reductions of 42.5 million tonnes by 2030 and 117.6 million tonnes by 2050. 

ABOUT TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION AND EMISSIONS REDUCTION (TIER) FUNDING

The Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) Regulation is at the core of emissions management in Alberta. The TIER system implements Alberta’s industrial carbon pricing and emissions trading system. TIER helps industrial facilities find innovative ways to reduce emissions and invest in clean technology to stay competitive and save money.