Wood waste decomposition and pneumatic devices among winners of ERA methane reduction tech funding​​​​

As part of its goal to cut methane emissions almost in half, the province has handed out almost $30 million to advance projects ranging from wood waste biomass co-firing and space-based sensing technology to reducing cattle methane discharges and oilfield flaring and venting.

Through Emissions Reduction Alberta, with industry co-funding, the 12 projects amount to $83 million in project development.

Capital Power represented the largest single project with its $30.35 million plan, with $5 million from ERA, to displace coal with sawmill wood waste in its Genesee 2 power facility. A plan by Canadian Natural Resources Limited, with a number of partners, to bolster monitoring of methane emissions from oilsands mine faces and tailings ponds amounts to $11.53 million, with $5 million from ERA.

A number of technology providers, in some cases partnered with academia, received funding to advance various new technologies in the oil and gas, power generation, agriculture and forestry sectors.

GHGSat, with partners Schlumberger, Encana Corporation, GreenPath and others, will advance satellite-aircraft hybrid detection of methane emissions; ZKO Oilfield Industries is working with Peyto Exploration & Development to commercialize an in-pipe turbine generator that uses natural gas flow to create electricity; and Viresco Solutions, DSM and agricultural partners will demonstrate a feed ingredient that cuts enteric methane emissions from cattle.

The project funding is the outcome of the ERA Methane Challenge. The organization received 118 submissions through the competition. Chosen projects are intended to help industry meet the province’s objective to reduce methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025.

“Through the support of Emissions Reduction Alberta, the proceeds from industrial large emitters are being reinvested to accelerate progress in emissions reductions in the oil and natural gas industry,” Canadian Natural Resources vice-president Joy Romero said in a statement.

“These investments are critical to ensuring that Alberta is the preferred source of responsibly produced oil and natural gas.”

The climate change impact of methane is 25 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Methane reductions resulting from the 12 projects are estimated to be more than 1.1 megatonnes by 2020 and more than 6.9 megatonnes by 2030, according to ERA, which calculates the projects will lead to more than $60 million in spending and approximately 60 direct jobs.