Alberta has already reduced methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 45 per cent since 2014, but new technologies and innovations are needed to continue reducing emissions while powering the world. For companies and startups, testing technologies and getting real-world data to move ideas from concept to commercial-ready use is a major barrier.

The Alberta government is investing $15 million over five years for the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF) Accelerator’s Emissions Testing Centre program to test new technologies, reduce emissions and create jobs. The funding will help more Alberta companies test technologies free of charge in both laboratory and live settings, attract investors and get technologies to market faster.

Two staff members stand at together at Edson area gas plant

Staff at Tourmaline and Perpetual Energy’s West Wolf Lake gas processing plant near Edson (Credit: NGIF Accelerator)

“We are a global leader in reducing methane emissions, and Alberta technologies are being used around the world. We are removing barriers so our talented startup companies can grow their good ideas, create jobs and support a sustainable oil and gas sector for generations to come.”

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas

The Emissions Testing Centre (ETC) program, established in 2021, provides innovators with free, simulated testing space at the University of Calgary and live testing space at Tourmaline and Perpetual Energy’s West Wolf Lake gas processing plant near Edson, where companies can validate their technologies that measure, monitor or reduce methane emissions.

“As a proud Emissions Testing Centre partner, Tourmaline is committed to helping develop emerging cleantech companies while providing real solutions to reduce methane emissions. Not only are these companies pioneering innovative technologies, but they're also creating tangible benefits, from helping our industry mitigate emissions and reduce operating costs to generating high-quality jobs and opportunities for Albertans. We are excited about the future of the Emissions Testing Centre program and will be able to accelerate the great work underway with this funding support from the Government of Alberta."

Mike Rose, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Tourmaline Oil Corp.

“We are grateful for the continued support from the Government of Alberta. This funding will allow us to further expand the NGIF Emissions Testing Centre’s testing capabilities and support the development of innovative methane management technologies. We are confident that this partnership will help NGIF continue to accelerate technology and innovation in the natural gas sector and maintain Alberta's leadership in methane emissions management.”

John Adams, president and CEO, NGIF Accelerator

More than 70 companies have already tested projects through this program, helping advance clean technologies that are being used across Alberta and around the world. The facility lacked long-term funding, so Alberta’s government is stepping up. The new funding will ensure the program continues to help companies de-risk and commercialize their innovative technology solutions.

“Canadians want and need the affordable, reliable, clean energy service offering they have come to expect from the natural gas industry. When we created NGIF and the Emissions Testing Centre, it was our vision to bring the entire natural gas value chain together to support cleantech development that enhances environmental and economic performance for the sector. The Government of Alberta’s funding will help ETC in that regard, particularly with efforts to meet the emission control regimes that are being established by the Government of Canada.”

Timothy M. Egan, president and CEO, Canadian Gas Association and chair, NGIF Capital Corporation

The West Wolf Lake gas processing facility is equipped with significantly more sensors and instrumentation than a typical gas processing facility, giving innovators access to data that is not often available at a typical live operation. Along with the gas processing plant, companies also have access to a network of upstream wellsites, midstream facilities and operations.

“The Emissions Testing Centre Lab at the University of Calgary offers startups a flexible and safe environment to test their technologies, allowing them to de-risk and refine their innovations before field testing. This testing provides valuable insights that help accelerate the commercialization of their technologies. The funding from the Government of Alberta supports the Emissions Testing Centre’s vital mission to aid cleantech startups in developing technologies that contribute to emission reduction goals.”

Professor Ian Gates, associate vice-president of research and innovation, University of Calgary

Technologies tested to date include a highly efficient small industrial natural gas engine led by Convrg Innovations and Spartan Controls, a MethaneTrack™ system that helps clients meet emissions reduction goals by accurately detecting, locating and quantifying methane emissions led by 360 Engineering and Environmental Consulting Ltd., and a valve that uses solar power to lower operational costs and emissions led by Calscan Solutions.

“At Calscan Solutions, we recognize the pivotal role of the Emissions Testing Centre in driving innovation and sustainability within the energy sector. The collaboration between the Alberta government and industry leaders like Tourmaline highlights the importance of the Emissions Testing Centre in fostering advancements that not only boost efficiency but also ensure environmental stewardship. Together, we are shaping a future where cutting-edge technology and responsible resource management go hand in hand.”

Doug Bezpalko, manager of technical sales, Calscan Solutions

“We are very excited about the province of Alberta continuing to support the Emissions Testing Centre. It is such an important initiative to enable real-time field testing of emerging emissions detection, quantification, and control technologies. The government and Tourmaline’s commitment to the Emissions Testing Centre allows innovative solutions to evaluate the performance of their technology which invariably supports the deployment of these solutions throughout the sector. We look forward to being a part of the ongoing success of this program.”

Wayne Hillier, chief technology officer, Modern West Advisory

Alberta’s success in reducing methane emissions has been recognized internationally. Last year, the province hit its 45 per cent methane emissions reduction target three years early by working closely with industry, including early action programs such as carbon offsets, implementation of strong provincial regulatory requirements in place for all facilities, and improved leak detection and repair.

Quick facts

  • The NGIF Accelerator is a national, not-for-profit, industry-led, grant funding organization that runs technology and innovation programs for cleantech startups.
  • To date, 74 startup companies have enrolled in the Emissions Testing Centre program.
    • 32 have completed their methane testing and reduction technology trials, and 27 projects are currently underway.
  • Government has provided a grant covering $3 million per year for three years, with the option to extend up to five years.

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