In science, a catalyst is a substance that speeds a chemical reaction and, as according to the design and parameters of most lab- or field-work, promotes a desired outcome. And, very much in the same sense, Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions, in the name of creating cleaner energy and greener communities, works to hurry progress, bridge gaps of perception and knowledge, and generate or facilitate solutions to economic, social, and environmental challenges and imperatives.
It does this in four key areas.
With a focus on recovery and processing, clean carbon, and unconventional gas technologies, AI-EES works to support the development and delivery of clean, low-emission fuels and electricity to local and world markets.
Renewable and Emerging Resources
The aim is forward-looking and long-term: transforming Alberta into a renewable and alternate energy powerhouse. From waste-to-fuels technologies to nanotechnology applications, AI-EES champions strategic approaches for acquiring, advancing, and integrating the knowledge required to make Alberta a global leader in the development of cleaner energy and greener communities.
AI-EES develops and supports leading critical technologies and management systems to sustain the environment and economy. Work centres on carbon capture and storage technologies, oil sands tailings and water management, and enhanced ecology.
Paying constant heed to the fundamental objectives and guidance of Alberta’s Water for Life strategy (water for people, nature, and economy), and as a key knowledge source and clearing house, AI-EES helps assure the long term safety, quality, and sustainability of Alberta’s water.
A 2010 amalgamation of the Alberta Energy Research Institute and the Alberta Water Research Institute, AI-EES has nevertheless already been a particularly energetic catalyst speeding and prompting progress in a number of areas. For example:
- The agency has developed objective benchmarks that scientifically counter inflated American perceptions of air emissions associated with oil sands production in Alberta.
- The 2010 Screening Study of Oil Sand Tailings Technologies and Practices helps advance efforts to turn oil sands tailing ponds back into usable landscapes.
- AI-EES work on carbon capture and storage is both guiding government policy development and helping to improve private sector environmental and economic performance.
- Work is ongoing to provide Albertans in rural communities with important tools to better assess water quality.
- Research is also advancing in the development of potential treatments to improve water re-use in the oil sands.
- And the agency has developed a new method for a rapidly assessing wetlands value and better managing the natural assets.
As for the future, events within the agency’s purview should unfold, not by accident, but according to design – that is, with AI-EES doing its part to promote a set of well-defined, desired outcomes: a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of oil by 202, a 20 percent reduction in energy consumed in the production of bitumen, and a 20 percent increase in the recovery rate for conventional oil.