Energy in Action logo

Test-driving new technology

Test-driving new technology

Alberta’s Natural Gas Innovation Fund, with partners including Tourmaline Oil, are offering real-world testing for new emissions reduction technologies.

Testing Emissions Technologies

When you’re shopping for a vehicle, you can kick the tires but you won’t know how it handles until you drive it. The same is true when developing technologies – processes and equipment – to help reduce emissions. A new idea might look good on paper, but the real proof is an actual test run.

To that end, in April 2021 Natural Resources Canada and the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF), together with the University of Calgary, Tourmaline Oil Corp. (Tourmaline), Perpetual Energy Ltd. (Perpetual), jointly announced funding to set up the Emissions Testing Centre (ETC). Part of the ETC simulates emissions testing at a lab scale, while a live-test facility is located at the West Wolf Lake Gas Processing Plant, jointly-owned by Tourmaline and Perpetual, near Edson. The plant is operated by Tourmaline.

What is the 'NGIF'?

The NGIF was created by the Canadian Gas Association to support cleantech innovation in the natural gas industry. Through competitions, NGIF chooses projects to fund and supports research related to sustainable production including lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency and managing water and air impacts. .

Tourmaline is Canada’s largest natural gas producer and has a remarkable emissions reduction record: since 2013, while Tourmaline’s production rose by 490%, emissions intensity was cut by 41%. With a corporate focus on significantly reducing emissions – primarily by addressing methane emissions – Tourmaline is an ideal host for the ETC.

The ETC gives cleantech inventors and startups an opportunity to test their innovations in real industrial conditions at the gas plant, allowing improved understanding of how a given technology could be expected to perform at a commercial scale. In addition to working with engineering and other experts from Tourmaline, inventors also get support and guidance from highly qualified researchers at the University of Calgary. This is just one of Tourmaline’s many initiatives to reduce emissions.

Since the ETC started in 2021, more than 15 methane detection and monitoring technologies have been tested. Among them:

  • Altomaxx Technologies Inc. tested their drone-based methane sensors that detect leak locations along pipelines, at well sites and natural gas facilities. The ETC provides Newfoundland-based Altomaxx with a controlled environment to evaluate different drone flight patterns, the accuracy of the emissions sensors and other data.
  • Qube Technologies tested their continuous emissions monitoring technology. Calgary-based Qube is a leading provider of environmental monitoring technologies, especially continuous emissions monitoring capable of detecting methane leaks around the clock, every day.
Share Now

You’re welcome to SHARE this article and LEARN MORE about how Canada’s natural gas and oil producers are taking action on climate change.