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  • Writer's pictureGraham Harris

$50 million in funding available for transformational technologies for net zero in Alberta

Emission Reduction Alberta (ERA) has announced the latest in its "Challenge" series of funding opportunities: the Industrial Transformation Challenge. Like previous Challenges, this offers up to 50% match funding for greenhouse gas reduction projects that meet particular criteria. The available funding is $50 million in total, with the minimum ask for any project being $250,000 and the maximum being $10 million.

In this case the Industrial Transformation Challenge "is focused on technology solutions that are currently not in widespread commercial use and will need significant investment, testing, and scale-up." This is not targeted to any particular economic sector - so projects from agriculture or forest products are as eligible as those from manufacturing or the energy sector - instead, the call is focused on supporting industrial decarbonization and efforts to move Alberta’s industrial sector to "net-zero" GHG emissions.

To do this, the Challenge will select and fund - with the aim of de-risking, advancing and accelerating the deployment of - technology opportunities that are NOT currently in widespread commercial use but that DO have the potential to achieve transformative change in an industrial sector.

This is not a prescriptive call - ERA provides a wide range of technology examples that it might consider for funding, such as:

  1. Electric boilers, industrial heat pumps, and other means of electrifying industrial heat

  2. Onsite industrial clean heat production via geothermal, solar thermal, nuclear, etc.

  3. Thermal energy storage

  4. Hydrogen end uses in industry (i.e., hydrogen-driven equipment/processes)

  5. Process electrification

  6. Novel hydrocarbon extraction (including electrified and/or non-aqueous processes, application of small modular nuclear reactors, etc.)

  7. New processes, chemistries, etc. for cement (including novel clinker substitutes), fertilizer, plastics, pulp and paper, oil and gas upgrading/refining, and other industries

  8. Transformative agricultural technologies and practices including electrification, advanced fertilizers, and mitigation of agricultural methane emissions

  9. Novel alternative proteins

  10. Step-changes in fugitive methane management

  11. Solutions for high global warming potential gasses including climate-friendly refrigerants and fluorinated-gas reduction/substitution

  12. New industries and products, such as:

    1. Hydrocarbons beyond combustion

    2. Energy materials (i.e., lithium, vanadium, zircon, etc.)

    3. Advanced manufacturing

    4. Inherently low-emissions greenfield developments

Typically, ERA Challenges receive enough submissions to use the available funding several times over, so the process is highly competitive and only quality submissions stand a realistic chance of being funded.

Interested proponents should expect to firstly prepare a relatively short Expression Of Interest (EOI) for initial submission to ERA's expert review panel. Depending on application volume, as few as 25% of these EOIs may then be invited to submit a Full Project Proposal (FPP), which must describe the project in detail, including its financial and implementation plan.

Credible assessment of the GHG emission reductions of a project are important at the EOI stage, and at the FPP stage, a comprehensive GHG Assessment Report must be submitted as a stand-alone Appendix. Firefly is highly experienced in preparing these assessments and recommends considering the GHG performance of your project as early as possible in any application process to the ERA. Contact us to discuss your needs.

The application deadline is Thursday, January 19, 2023, at 5 p.m. MT and ERA will also be holding an informational webinar Friday, December 2, 2022, at 9:30 a.m MT (Register here)

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