COSIA in Space

Here’s where Canadian space technology meets Canada’s oil sands innovation. With the use of satellite technology, we’re looking to increase the accuracy and frequency of emissions measurement from oil sands operations with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The satellite, called Claire, launched into space on June 21, 2016.

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GHG Director Update

Jonathan Matthews

Jonathan Matthews
Director, Greenhouse Gases EPA

Reduce, reuse and recycle. The adage applies to everything, including emissions from an oil sands facility. Finding ways to reuse the heat lost by oil sands production is one of the focus areas of the greenhouse gas (GHG) environmental priority area (EPA). And the COSIA-ARCTIC Waste Heat Challenge is heating up the competition to do just that.

Winners of the initial phase of the competition were announced at the end of August.

The two companies selected to move forward, AMSEnergy Corp and Heat Matrix Group BV, now receive funding and in-kind support, like access to materials and industry mentorship, to develop their innovative solutions further. Over the next six months, each technology will be reviewed thoroughly to determine if they have merit to be deployed at an operating oil sands facility. The review is based on the technology’s potential to improve environmental performance and reduce production costs.

“The chance to work with smaller, entrepreneurial entities, like the ones competing in this challenge, is another way we are looking further afield to find ways to improve the industry’s environmental performance,” says Jonathan Matthews, COSIA’s GHG EPA director. “Small and medium size enterprises have a real knack for assessing a problem differently and suggesting completely new solutions, which is what we saw in this competition.”

The COSIA-ARCTIC Waste Heat Challenge targeted a network of small- to mid-sized companies from the clean technology industry, first here in Canada and then around the globe. It also put the spotlight on COSIA’s Challenges model, which lays out specific issues faced by the industry and the technology needs that these present.

“The competition allowed us to share a very specific challenge with a select group of innovators and entrepreneurs,” explains Jonathan. “By deconstructing a particular issue and then working to precisely describe the desired outcome to new audiences—and also admitting we don’t have all the answers—we hope to find new and innovative solutions.”

The competition made up the first of its kind for ARCTIC, the Advanced Research Clean Technology Innovation Centre, operated by Foresight, a British Columbia-based not-for-profit organization working to find and fund solutions for challenges faced by Western Canada’s resource sector.

“We were very pleased to work alongside COSIA to find companies who can accelerate technology developments that reduce GHG emissions,” says Neil Huff, Foresight’s Managing Director. “The ideas that came forward demonstrate the potential for not only environmental benefits, but also economic ones, by creating local jobs and increasing the need for local services.”

As a sign of the success of the first COSIA-ARCTIC challenge, the two organizations recently announced another competition, which focuses on the challenge of improving the efficiency of hot water production in oil sands extraction processes.

“Competitions like this are a great way to incentivize technology development,” says Jonathan. “And it doesn’t stop here. Other ideas to reduce GHGs, or for any of our other environmental priority areas, can be submitted at any time through E-TAP.”