About the Challenge

Emissions Reduction Alberta’s new $50 million Natural Gas Challenge is now accepting applications. This funding opportunity will unlock innovation across Alberta’s natural gas value chain by supporting clean technology projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). ERA will fund up to $10 million per project and up to 50 percent of total project costs. Proponents must match ERA’s investment with private funds. The application deadline is December 19, 2019 at 5 p.m. Mountain Time.

Innovators with pilot, demonstration, scale-up, and first-of-kind deployment projects in the upstream, midstream, and downstream natural gas industry are invited to apply for ERA’s Natural Gas Challenge. Proposals may be submitted by technology developers, industry, industrial associations, small and medium-sized enterprises, research and development organizations, universities, municipalities, not-for-profits, and individuals. Partnerships are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Steve MacDonald, ERA’s CEO, and Mark Summers, ERA’s Executive Director of Technology and Innovation, hosted an informational webinar on November 14. They provided an overview of the funding opportunity, including scope and eligibility of the call, the submission process, and timelines for decisions. Participants also had the chance to ask specific questions to help prepare an application.

The Natural Gas Challenge builds on ERA’s recent competitive calls for proposals, including the Industrial Efficiency Challenge, Methane Challenge, and BEST Challenge (Biotechnology, Electricity, and Sustainable Transportation).

Click the links below for more details:

Why target the natural gas value chain?

Natural gas is a critical resource, providing heat and power for Alberta’s residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. It is the least GHG emitting of traditional fossil fuels, and a global shift toward natural gas from coal- and oil‑based resources is underway.

Canada is the fourth largest natural gas producer in the world, with net exports totaling $6.1 billion in 2018. Alberta produces almost 70 per cent of the marketable natural gas in the country. In 2017, the province emitted 35 million tonnes of CO2e from natural gas production and processing. A significant opportunity exists to improve cost competitiveness along Alberta’s natural gas value chain and reduce GHG emissions.

The Government of Alberta is committed to revitalizing Alberta’s natural gas sector. The province is developing and implementing a robust strategy with key recommendations from the 2018 Roadmap to Recovery Report, a document advising the government on reviving Alberta’s natural gas industry.

Focus Areas

To inform the scope of the Natural Gas Challenge, ERA hosted a workshop and a webinar that included innovators, industry, government, and other experts to discuss opportunities to decrease emissions, increase competitiveness, and tackle barriers to advancing technology.

Areas of interest for the Natural Gas Challenge include but are not limited to:

  •  New technology for production or processing of natural gas
  •  Addressing natural gas leaks and fugitive emissions
  •  Alternatives to flaring and venting
  •  First-of-kind industrial efficiency improvements at natural gas operations
  •  Renewable/synthetic natural gas production
  •  Innovation for transportation of natural gas
  •  Technology for natural gas fueled transportation and mobility
  •  Novel technology for conversion of natural gas to value added products including electricity, hydrogen, liquid fuels, chemicals and other products.

Eligible technologies can come from anywhere the world, but projects must be piloted, demonstrated, or deployed in Alberta.

Project Development Stage

Expressions of interest are invited for projects that advance innovation to the stages of field piloting, commercial demonstration, or first-of-kind commercial implementation, as described below:

  •  Field Pilot: At this stage the technology or innovation 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.
  •  Commercial 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 fully-commercial scale systems in an operational environment.
  •  First-of-Kind Commercial 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.
Submission 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, and transparent review overseen by a Fairness Monitor. Once approved by ERA’s Board of Directors, funding will be distributed on a milestone basis, and the progress of each project is reported on until completion. All recipients are required to produce a final outcomes report that will be shared publicly for the broader benefit of Alberta.

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is a legal tradename of the Climate Change and Emissions Management (CCEMC) Corporation.