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Business

Business Spotlight – Calgary Start-Up Innovating Carbon Capture

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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

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INDIGENOUS CONSULTATION AND ENGAGEMENT AT CANADA’S ENERGY AND UTILITY REGULATORS

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INDIGENOUS CONSULTATION AND ENGAGEMENT AT CANADA’S ENERGY AND UTILITY REGULATORS

CAMPUT is the Association of Canada’s provincial, territorial and federal energy and utility regulators.  CAMPUT’s purpose is to improve energy and utility regulations in Canada and to educate and train our members.  We are highlighting the work of two of our members, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Canada Energy Regulator, in the areas of Indigenous consultation and engagement.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has a broad mandate, including to protect health, safety and security, and the environment, and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public, including Indigenous groups.   The CNSC is also an agent of the Crown with the responsibility of ensuring the Duty to Consult is met before making decisions.  The CNSC has explored various means to ensure that Indigenous groups’ voices are heard and integrated into Commission decision-making. The CNSC has also committed to developing on-going, respectful relationships that allow open dialogue in the spirit of reconciliation and trust building.

First, the CNSC focused in-house and put into place policies, practices and processes with an overarching regulatory framework and management system to confirm that CNSC decisions uphold the Honor of the Crown. This included a Regulatory Document (REGDOC 3.2.2, 2016) that sets out the Commission expectations on how proponents play a significant role in working with Indigenous groups to address concerns and mitigate impacts and / or treaty rights, early in design and project proposal stages.

The CNSC also has a dedicated team with expertise in Indigenous consultation and engagement that conducts ongoing engagement with Indigenous groups with interests in nuclear facilities. The long-term goal is to help build relationships and trust and help CNSC staff learn more about the history, rights, interests, and culture of the Indigenous groups. The CNSC continues to work with Indigenous groups to ensure they are provided the opportunity to present their views and give oral presentations at Commission hearings.

To support this participation, the CNSC has put in place a Participant Funding Program that in part, has helped Indigenous groups hire consultants to review technical scientific reports, fund Indigenous Knowledge studies, cover community meeting costs, pay Honoraria for elders, and costs for travel and preparations for hearings. Further, Commission hearings have taken place in communities near facilities to allow easier access by Indigenous groups, and teleconferencing, web access, live streaming and simultaneous translation in Indigenous languages has also been used.

The CNSC acknowledges the importance of working with and integrating Indigenous Knowledge alongside scientific and regulatory information in its assessments and regulatory processes, where appropriate and where authorized by Indigenous communities. Indigenous ways of knowing and cultural context enhance the CNSC’s understanding of potential impacts of projects and strengthens project reviews and regulatory oversight.

The CNSC also runs its own Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) that seeks Indigenous participation in taking samples from public areas around nuclear facilities and measuring and analyzing the amount of radiological and hazardous substances in the samples. Following discussions with many Indigenous groups, it was recognized that they could play a key role in identifying country foods and traditional harvest areas and participate as part of the IEMP. Getting meaningful monitoring results to Indigenous communities is a key priority for the CNSC.

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) welcomes change. In August 2019 we transitioned from the National Energy Board to the Canada Energy Regulator. The CER has been given new legislation and is focused on improvement. Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is a pillar of our renewal.

Our legislation directs us to find meaningful ways to engage with Indigenous Peoples. We embrace our new mandate and have woven specific deliverables on reconciliation into every aspect of our work.

Our vision: to transform the way we work with Indigenous Peoples, recognizing their unique cultures, knowledge and histories; and endeavor to reflect a renewed Nation- to-Nation relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

We recognize reconciliation is an ongoing process that occurs in the context of evolving Indigenous-Crown relationships. Sitting around the table with Indigenous communities, we are working to find new ways to co-manage regulatory oversight. We recognize the inseparable connection Indigenous Peoples have with the land and the water, and we will work collaboratively to protect them. We are also ensuring we equip the communities with the right skills and support to make the changes we envision a reality.

Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committees (IAMC) bring together Indigenous and federal leaders to provide advice to regulators and to monitor the Trans Mountain Expansion and Line pipelines. Members share the goals of safety and protection of environmental and Indigenous interests in the lands and water. Indigenous participation does not equal support or opposition for a project, allowing for better information-sharing within the group. This initiative represents a foundational change in the way the CER and the Federal government work with Indigenous Peoples. It aims to develop an enduring and meaningful relationship for the entire lifecycle of the project. We believe our work with the IAMCs can lead the way on co- management of regulatory oversight activities and has the potential to be applied across the rest of Canada’s energy system.

Here are some other ways we are changing how we work with Indigenous Peoples:

  • We are meeting with Indigenous communities earlier on who may be impacted by projects we regulate to better understand their concerns and share how the CER holds companies accountable for the protection of Indigenous rights and interests.
  • We are adapting our hearing processes to allow for different paths of Indigenous participation. This includes sharing Indigenous Knowledge, allowing for ceremonies, selecting specific locations for the hearing that are convenient to Indigenous participants or elders, and allowing for remote participation if travel is not possible.
  • We are developing a National Indigenous Monitoring Policy so that all CER-regulated infrastructure projects can benefit from Indigenous Knowledge when they are being build and operated.
  • We are training our employees to understand more about Indigenous history, culture and contemporary issues facing Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This training ensures that consideration of Indigenous rights and interests and becomes embedded in our way of working.

Background.  The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual Energy Council of Canada initiative which provides opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration on a topic of shared interest across the Canadian energy sector, produced with the support of Canada’s national energy associations and Energy Council of Canada’s members. The stories contributed to the 2019 edition, Indigenous Energy Across Canada, highlight current conversations celebrating Canada’s dynamic energy sector and encouraging its continuous improvement.

Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.

Click to read a foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel
River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

 

Jacob Irving, President of Energy Council of Canada

The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector.  The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.

Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.

COASTAL GASLINK PIPELINE PROJECT SETS NEW STANDARD WITH UNPRECEDENTED INDIGENOUS SUPPORT AND PARTICIPATION

Hydro-Québec takes partnerships, environmental measures and sharing of wealth to new levels

Read more on Todayville.

 

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Calgary

Summer is here to Stay at Calgary’s Only Indoor Beach Facility

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After a fairly stagnant summer, where the typical buzz of team athletics and busy sporting fields has been largely missed due to COVID-19, the return of the winter weather is being dreaded by most. 

Do not fear the cold, however, there is a way for Calgarians to beat the winter blues. The Beach YYC, Calgary’s only indoor beach recreation facility offers “a little bit of the summer, all year long”. Located in southeast Calgary at 3030-2600 Portland Street, The Beach YYC is a 23,000 square foot facility with almost 13,000 square feet of beach court space and more than 700 tons of sand.
“After the way the summer has been, where people haven’t been able to play the normal leagues and sports they usually do, people are looking for a social, fun, active thing to do.” Says Elliot Weinstein, Founder of The Beach YYC, “And here we are!” 

Originally inspired by an indoor beach facility located in Vancouver, BC, Elliot decided to introduce the concept to the city of Calgary. As the fifth facility of its kind in Canada and the only one available in Alberta, The Beach YYC draws both high and low level players from across the country for everything from major tournaments to evening rec leagues. In addition to offering rec, intermediate and competitive beach volleyball leagues in co-ed and gendered divisions, the facility has 5 courts that can be adjusted to accommodate beach volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Spikeball and dodgeball games.

“It’s a great place for people to maintain and improve their skills during the winter months,” says Elliot, “that way they can jump right back into their summer sports when the weather changes.”

In addition to hosting regularly scheduled leagues, The Beach YYC offers kids play dates and camps, catered events such as birthdays, corporate events and beach parties, as well as weekly drop-in rates – which have been on hold due to COVID-19 but will resume when deemed appropriate. 

Opened in September of 2018, The Beach YYC is now approaching its 2-year anniversary, and recently announced the opening of their beachside diner, George’s Beach Club! Named in honor of Elliot’s grandfather George, the club features a full comfort-food menu that includes delicious anomalies like the Bahn Mi Sub, the Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Poutine, and banana splits for dessert. 

Now in the final stages of securing a liquor license, George’s will soon be a full-service destination for players and friends to relax at before or after games with a pint and bite. 

Don’t wait on that tropical vacation to get your toes back in the sand … everything is better at The Beach! 

To learn more about The Beach YYC or to check out George’s Beach Club, now available on Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats, visit https://www.thebeachyyc.ca

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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