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Business

Business Spotlight – Calgary Start-Up Innovating Carbon Capture

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7 minute read

Let me begin by saying that the ecosystem of tech and green entrepreneurs in Alberta never ceases to amaze me. Respect to our educational institutions and accelerator programs that are supporting start-up ventures grow and get to a stage of market validation. The difficulty for some may be immediate revenue, but the potential for their technology and benefit to our planet are the key differentiators as we move towards a new green economy here in Alberta. The conversation may stay polarized on whether keeping all our eggs in the oil and gas basket is our best foot forward, but there’s promise in this province to be the driving force behind a sustainable energy future. In 2016, renewable energy sources made up only 12.3% of the total energy generated in Alberta, four years on we now find ourselves advancing towards our 2030 goal with vast improvements from highly skilled individuals, the question is, who is doing all the hard work?

            (2020 Emerging Leaders – Roger Mah receives accreditation from Clean50 )

We spoke with Roger Mah, a Calgary entrepreneur who co-founded his company ZoraMat Solutions Inc. His company specializes in carbon capture, bio gas purification and natural gas efficiency improvements. While studying for his bachelor’s degree in Applied Chemistry from the University of Calgary, he spent over a year working in research and development as part of his degree in the Alberta Oil Sands. He mentions:

“It gave me perspective on the economic engine that drives this province. That was part of what pushed me towards my Ph.D at the University of Calgary.”

            (From Left – CSO George Shimizu, CEO Roger Mah and CTO Jared Taylor)

After finishing his Ph.D in Chemistry, he received the opportunity to do a non-traditional postdoctoral fellowship, allowing Roger to work for the CMC Research Institute. Nearing the end of his term with the CMC Research Institute, an opportunity emerged for Roger to take this technology from his Ph.D supervisors group out of the lab and implement it to a possible commercial application. With backing from GreenSTEM, Roger and his co-founders, George Shimizu (CSO) and Jared Taylor (CTO), armed with support, experience and education, founded ZoraMat Solutions Inc in January of 2019.

“It has allowed me to really put 100% of my effort and time into this company and give it real a shot…”

GreenSTEM is an entrepreneurial pilot program for science, technology, engineering, math masters and Ph.D. graduates. The 2-year program enables entrepreneurship and provides a two-year commercialization runway for “deep technology” companies involved in science based innovation. You can learn more about their support for entrepreneurs here.

Repurposing Carbon

Carbon dioxide is a commodity with some value. It is used, both directly and as a feedstock, by a range of industries and has been for over a century. Most CO2 used by industries today is a byproduct of fossil fuel processes, often from natural gas or coal-fueled plants. Just like burning fossil fuels, it transfers CO2 from the geosphere to the atmosphere. If CO2 that is pulled out of the air became more plentiful and cheaper, we could see the change by competing with earthbound CO2 . In theory, any industry that uses carbon from under the ground for fuel, beverages, directly in industrial processes, as a feedstock to create other products, could switch to air-captured CO2 if the appropriate chemical process is taken. Airborne CO2 emissions have a low concentration which can make capturing large quantities a challenge. ZoraMat’s solution is to capture CO2 as part of the industrial process, preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

 

What is Zoralite?

Roger defines Zoralite as a ‘specialty chemical’, similar in look to flour. On a molecular level is where the real chemical innovation plays its part. Zoralite acts like a molecular ‘sponge’ to soak up CO2 from emissions in the presence of water, which works as a competitive advantage for their team. Zoralite can capture CO2 from wet industrial flue gas streams then release the CO2 by applying heat or vacuum. In the efforts to exemplify the processes using the ‘sponge’ analogy, Roger mentions:

          (Zoralite)

 

“Zoralite soaks up the carbon dioxide, similar to soaking up the grime from a pan in your kitchen sink. Then, what comes through is a clean dish or your treated gas. Then you can use a process to squeeze out that sponge. So for us, what we do is we heat it up or we apply a vacuum. And by squeezing the sponge, all of that dirty water comes up, or for us, a pure stream of CO2.”

 

 

A simplified analogy but an extensive process that has taken years to develop. This technology could play a major role in what we see as a collaborative effort moving into a new green economy while re evaluating our industrial energy efficiency. The team at ZoraMat is actively seeking partnerships to help scale this process for larger commercial use. If you would like to learn more about ZoraMat or Zoralite, check out their website here or to contact their team.

 

“A New Dawn Towards A Clear Blue Sky” – ZoraMat Solutions Inc.”

 

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary

Automotive

Forget Tariffs: Biden Should Look to Domestic Mining to Thwart Chinese EVs

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Fr0m Heartland Daily News

By Rick Whitbeck

The Biden administration’s decision to raise tariffs on Chinese-manufactured electric vehicles, steel, computer chips, and other technological products is the epitome of a penny wise and a pound foolish.

To much of the nation, the news was a reelection flip-flop, or an attempt to prop up the electric vehicle industry Biden has prioritized since he took office, as part of his green agenda. The international supply chain for electric vehicles isn’t going to magically stop running through the Chinese Communist Party anytime soon.

If Biden really wanted to curb Chinese geopolitical power, he would make fundamental changes to his administration’s history of attacking domestic mining opportunities. Allowing development of copper, graphite, nickel, cobalt, and other critical and strategic minerals right here at home would go much further than imposing tariffs.

Biden has demonstrated affinity for promoting “net zero” policies and forcing transitions away from traditional energy supplies of oil, gas, and coal. In a nutshell, the attacks on domestic mining projects seem completely counterproductive.

According to the International Energy Agency, staggering quantities of subsurface elements will need to be mined by at least five times their current worldwide production by 2040 to meet the Biden administration’s green energy goals. Graphite, cobalt, and lithium all will be needed in quantities exceeding 25 times (or more) their current supplies. In the next quarter century, we will need twice as much copper than has been produced in the last 3,000 years. All of which is impossible when Biden won’t let us dig.

The U.S. has tremendous opportunities to have our own mineral resources. Yet, the Biden administration has thwarted their development at nearly every turn. For example, massive copper and nickel deposits could be developed in Minnesota at the Twin Metals and Duluth Complex projects, but Biden has ordered each of them off-limits for development. The Resolution Copper prospect in Arizona met a similar fate, with the Department of Interior placing on “indefinite hold” its approval.

The Western Hemisphere’s largest copper prospect is Alaska’s Pebble Mine. Kowtowing to environmental extremists—and ignoring a clean U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Final Environmental Impact Statement—the Environmental Protection Agency continues to stymie progress on a deposit worth more than $500 billion. All the while shutting down the possibility of 700 full-time jobs in an area of rural Alaska that has seasonal unemployment exceeding 20%.

Alaska has been the target of more than 60 administrative and executive orders targeting its resource-based economy since Biden assumed office. One of the most recent took place on Earth Day, when a congressionally-authorized road to the Ambler Mining District—an area rich in copper, zinc, and other strategic and critical minerals—was stopped by the Department of Interior.

Just like with the Resolution mine in Arizona, the Interior Department used “Indigenous opposition” as its deciding factor, even though many villages and tribes closest to the mining district publicly support the project and its future employment opportunities. In Alaska, the Biden administration literally blocks the road to the minerals Biden’s tariffs claim to protect.

Alaska’s governor, Michael Dunleavy, along with its entire congressional delegation, has been openly critical of the continued hypocrisy of the Biden administration when it comes to talking “net zero” and acting with vigor to oppose domestic mining projects. The same response has come from many within the Minnesota and Arizona congressional community. They’ve been unable to break through to the administration, as Team Biden chooses to listen to eco-activists and career bureaucrats with an anti-development agenda.

What would hurt China, empower America, and begin to chip away at the global imbalance would be mining and processing our crucial minerals and elements domestically. Let’s see if the Biden administration wises up to that fact, or if America tires of being subservient to the CCP and makes fundamental changes to federal leadership in November.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs and fights back against economy-killing and family-destroying environmental extremism. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @PTFAlaska

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

To read more about domestic mining to escape reliance on China, click here.

To read more about clean energy and mining, click here.

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Business

Government red tape strangling Canada’s economy

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From the Fraser Institute

By Kenneth P. Green

The cost of regulation from all three levels of government to Canadian businesses totalled $38.8 billion in 2020, for a total of 731 million hours—the equivalent of nearly 375,000 fulltime jobs.

One does not have to look too deeply into recent headlines to see that Canada’s economic conditions are declining and consequently eroding the prosperity and living standards of Canadians. Between 2000 and 2023, Canada’s per-person GDP (a key indicator of living standards) has lagged far behind its peer countries. Business investment is also lagging, as are unemployment rates across the country particularly compared to the United States.

There are many reasons for Canada’s dismal economic conditions—including layer upon layer of regulation. Indeed, Canada’s regulatory load is substantial and growing. Between 2009 and 2018, the number of regulations in Canada grew from about 66,000 to 72,000. These regulations restrict business activity, impose costs on firms and reduce economic productivity.

According to a recent “red tape” study published by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the cost of regulation from all three levels of government to Canadian businesses totalled $38.8 billion in 2020, for a total of 731 million hours—the equivalent of nearly 375,000 fulltime jobs. If we apply a $16.65 per-hour cost (the federal minimum wage in Canada for 2023), $12.2 billion annually is lost to regulatory compliance.

Of course, Canada’s smallest businesses bear a disproportionately high burden of the cost, paying up to five times more for regulatory compliance per-employee than larger businesses. The smallest businesses pay $7,023 per employee annually to comply with government regulation while larger businesses pay a much lower $1,237 per employee for regulatory compliance.

And the Trudeau government has embarked on a massive regulatory spree over the last decade, enacting dozens of major regulatory initiatives including Bill C-69 (which tightens Canada’s environmental assessment process for major infrastructure projects), Bill C-48 (which restricts oil tankers off Canada’s west coast) and electric vehicle mandates (which require all new cars be electric by 2035). Other examples of government red tape include appliance standards to reduce energy consumption from household appliances, home efficiency standards to reduce household energy consumption, banning single-use plastic products, “net zero” nitrous oxide emissions regulation, “net zero” building emissions regulations, and clean electricity standards to drive net emissions of greenhouse gases in electricity production to “net zero” by 2035.

Clearly, Canada’s festooning pile of regulatory red tape is badly in need of weeding. And it can be done. For example, during a deregulatory effort in British Columbia, which appointed a minister of deregulation in 2001, there was a 37 per cent reduction in regulatory requirements in the province by 2004.

Rather with plowing ahead with an ever-growing pallet of regulations to be heaped upon Canadian businesses and citizens, government should reach for the garden shears and start reducing the most recent regulatory expansions (before they have time to do too much harm), and then scour the massive strangling forest of older regulations.

Whacking through the red tape would go a long way to help Canada’s economy out of its dismal state and back into competitive ranges with its fellow developed countries and our neighbours in the U.S.

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