February 16, 2015 Québec City Natural Resources Canada and SDTC
The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario today announced funding of $29.5 million to support the development of clean technologies in Quebec. Of that amount, $20.5 million was provided though Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)’s SD Tech Fund.
Fractal Systems Inc. - Bitumen Diluent Reduction using Jet Nozzle Technology Platform
Sector: Energy Exploration and Production
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary)
SDTC funding: $3,700,000
Bitumen must be blended with a diluent, resulting in a product known as “dilbit”, before it can be transported through Canada’s pipeline system. Fractal Systems has developed a partial upgrading technology called Enhanced JetShear™ that can reduce the amount of diluent that must be blended with bitumen by up to 60% in order to meet pipeline specifications. The JetShear™ technology is unique in that it focuses on reducing the bitumen viscosity, rather than changing the chemical composition of the bitumen itself, thereby allowing the same amount of product to be transported for a much lower cost. This project will focus on further improving the JetShear™ technology such that an upgraded dilbit can be produced which is free of olefins and has lower acidity levels, two components of the current dilbit product that are considered impurities.
Fractal Systems Inc. (FSI)
FCCL Partnership (50% Cenovus Energy and 50% ConocoPhillips)
CelluForce Inc. - Optimization of nanocrystaline cellulose extraction process and development of applications for its use in the oil and gas sector
Sector: Forestry, Wood Products and Pulp and Paper Products
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (co-benefit), Clean Water (primary)
SDTC funding: $4,004,000
This project will further improve and optimize the process developed by CelluForce to extract nanocrystalline cellulose (CelluForce NCC™) from dry wood pulp. CelluForce NCC™ (NCC) is the primary building block found in cellulosic biomass such as trees. Measured in units as small as nanometres, these tiny structures nonetheless have strength properties comparable to steel. NCC is a versatile material that will have uses in a variety of industrial sectors. In particular, NCC is touted as having the potential to significantly advance the oil-and-gas industry. Suspension methods for extracting oil out of the ground – are limited as to where they can be applied. Under some conditions, traditional suspensions break down: valuable resources fall out of suspension and do not achieve their function. When NCC is added to the suspensions, they remain cohesive even under extreme conditions. Moreover, the addition of NCC reduces the volume of water and pressure needed to carry out the extraction. The enhanced characteristics that NCC imparts to the suspensions should provide opportunities for extracting resources in areas where that is not currently possible and to do so with a lower environmental footprint. Other objectives of the project are to develop additional applications for the oil-and-gas industry which include cementing using this renewable forestry resource.
Schlumberger Technology Corp. (SLB)
Nemaska Lithium Inc. - Pilot Demonstration for the Production of High-Purity Lithium Hydroxide and Carbonate
Sector: Energy Utilization
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary), Clean Air (co-benefit), Clean Soil (co-benefit)
SDTC funding: $12,870,000
The battery industry has an increasing need for a steady and affordable supply of high-purity lithium hydroxide – a need that is expected to grow by 30% per year over the next decade from 4,500 t to 42,000 t per year. Lithium hydroxide, through the synthesis of the new generation of lithium batteries cathodes materials increases the stability, reliability and safety of batteries. However, this necessary component, the product of a series of chemical reactions, is more expensive and more difficult to produce than lithium carbonate, the conventional source of lithium for batteries manufacturers. Nemaska Lithium has developed a process that reduces the steps required to produce lithium hydroxide at its Quebec-based facility. This project will scale up the process from ~50 kg batches at a time to ~400 t/yr. Nemaska’s technology will produce higher purity lithium hydroxide (more than 99.99% as opposed to 99.5% and with very low traces of metallic elements impurities) at a lower cost (33% to 40% lower) as compared to currently-available technologies, while reducing emissions of GHGs and air contaminants.
Nemaska Lithium Inc.
Phostech Lithium (Clariant Canada Inc.)
Sichuan Tianqi Lithium Industries Inc.
Orbite Aluminae Inc. - Red Mud Remediation and Alumina Extraction
Sector: Waste Management
Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (co-benefit)/Clean Water (co-benefit)/Clean Soil (primary)
SDTC funding: $4,500,000
Canada is the world’s third-largest producer of aluminum. Orbite Aluminae has developed a proprietary process that remediates red mud, converts it into marketable products, including the alumina needed to produce aluminum, in a process that creates virtually no waste. This project will implement the process so as to provide a domestic source of alumina to the Canadian aluminum industry, which is currently importing 100 percent of its needs. Furthermore, compared to the alumina-producing process used today, Orbite’s technologies could lower operating capital needed by as much as 30 percent, and operation costs by as much as 50 percent. It could completely remediate toxic red mud, thereby improving land use, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation of feedstock over very long distances. Orbite’s proprietary process would also be applicable to remediate fly ash, the residue generated in coal-fired power plants.
Orbite Aluminae Inc.
Veolia Environmental Services