In February 2021, oil giants bp and Chevron, along with a number of other notable groups announced their decision to back Calgary-based geothermal company Eavor Technologies Inc. through a $40 million funding round. Since then, discussions regarding the pivot away from oil and gas into renewables have captured national interest. Is this a sign the shift is officially underway?
Eavor Technologies is a local geothermal tech company making international waves in the global renewable energy arena. By revolutionizing the approach to geothermal energy, Eavor’s technology has eradicated several of the costly, inefficient measures associated with traditional geothermal. Without experiencing the limitations of traditional geothermal, nor being subject to intermittency issues associated with wind and solar, Eavor’s solution is one the world sorely needs.
Alberta Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer recently commended Eavor in an address discussing ongoing economic diversification in Alberta, noting private sector investment in provincial geothermal wells. “Eavor Technologies of Calgary has raised significant money for this, and plans to produce enough geothermal power to heat thousands of homes over the next decade,” said Schweitzer.
In light of recent developments in the oil and gas industry, Eavor’s ongoing mission to harness the Earth’s geothermal potential to provide reliable, scalable, baseload power for millions of homes in the coming years has taken on a new key component.
Following the announcement, Eavor has taken several steps to further invest in academia in Alberta through the launch of an ongoing educational campaign aimed at engaging Alberta youth in the future of renewable energy in the province and across the nation. As a local, cutting edge technology company on a mission to positively change the world, Eavor recognizes the importance of encouraging the bright members of the young generation to ask questions and actively participate in the ongoing changes occurring in the energy industry.
“Eavor has developed a unique renewable energy solution by applying established or proven technologies in an innovative and creative way,” says Bailey Schwarz, Lead Engineer for Eavor. “Educating and engaging the next generation will encourage creative thinking and problem solving in the energy sector that will keep building on these innovations in every sector.”
Earlier this month, Eavor Technologies Inc. announced a multi-year research and development partnership with the University of Calgary Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) valued at almost $1 million.
This partnership will focus on building on existing Alberta drilling technology to effectively further applications for geothermal exploration and development, while educating the public and creating new jobs for Albertans.
Engaging young adults at the university level is a key part of Eavor’s investment in geothermal education and development in Alberta, however, it doesn’t end there.
On March 10, 2021, team members from Calgary tech company Eavor Technologies Inc. visited Bearspaw Christian School in northwest Calgary to present their cutting-edge closed loop geothermal technology to the 10th grade science classes.
The presentation was led by Eavor’s Lead Engineer Bailey Schwarz, Senior Business Development Leader Neil Ethier and Chief Business Development Officer, Paul Cairns.
The team introduced Eavor’s mission, discussed the differing forms of renewable energy and explained the Eavor-Loop in relation to traditional geothermal. Bailey Schwarz then covered thermodynamics before introducing Eavor-Lite, Eavor’s successful, third party validated demonstration project located in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.
“The presentations went really well,” says Schwarz, “I was really impressed with the interest the students showed and the challenging questions they asked our team.”
The presentation to Bearspaw Christian School is part of Eavor’s ongoing educational outreach campaign designed to get the younger generation excited about ongoing developments in the field of renewable energy. As future scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs, the bright students in Mr. Dallas Peterson’s 10th grade science class were captivated by Eavor’s presentation. They kept the team on their toes by asking endless questions to better understand the Eavor-Loop technology. “We were all really impressed by all the questions,” says Paul Cairns, CBDO of Eavor, “we really want to encourage these young kids to think differently.”
Cairns closed the presentation by introducing a two-part Eavor Challenge. Part one is an opportunity for students to further explore Eavor’s global geothermal energy potential by determining the best possible location for a future Eavor-Loop. They were given a curated list of potential locations, which need to be ranked according to feasibility based on geological, economical, and socio-political factors – this list includes Mars.
Eavor has partnered with Bearspaw Christian School to continue the challenge into the next school year, when a science research option being offered by Mr. Peterson will give students the chance to explore Eavor in extreme depth.
“I hope they come away from this experience excited for the future, and feeling that they will have an important part to play,” says Mr. Peterson, Bearspaw Secondary Science teacher, “I believe we need to foster the conversation with our youth surrounding the question, ‘in what ways could we envision energy alternatives?’ It’s so important to instill a hope for the future.”
To encourage creativity alongside education, Eavor will be awarding an Oculus Quest Virtual Reality Headset, pre-loaded with the Eavor-Lite Virtual Tour, to one student from each semester who exceeds the challenge.
Eavor prides itself on being at the forefront of renewable energy development in Alberta, and investment and education for Alberta’s youth and young adults is a crucial step in ensuring a successful, prosperous future for the province. Students in grade school, high school, university and graduate school all have an important part to play in furthering provincial and national goals surrounding the pivot towards renewable energy.
“Investing in our youth is investing in our future,” says Paul Cairns, Chief Business Development Officer for Eavor Technologies. Eavor is proud to play a part in getting the next generation of Alberta youth excited and engaged in renewable technology, and geothermal energy development.
University of Calgary Positions
The University of Calgary is hiring several positions for its multi-year R&D project with Eavor Technologies.
- Research Associate in Drilling Operations, Drilling Performance Optimization, Data Analytics, Drilling Modelling and Control. M.Sc. in engineering required, industry experience and/or Ph.D. preferred.
- Postdoctoral Fellow in Drilling Mechanics, Bit-Rock interaction Modelling and Non-Linear System Dynamics and Control. A recent Ph.D. in engineering required.
- Three Ph.D. Research Assistantships in:
1) Hydraulic percussion hammer modelling
2) Physics-informed data-driven model development
3) Estimation techniques for digital twinning
To apply, please send your CV, Cover Letter, and a Writing Sample to Roman Shor at [email protected]ucalgary.ca
Eavor’s virtual tour and link to the Oculus Quest App can be experienced here: https://eavor.com/eavor-lite-virtual-tour
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
Alberta commits $20.8 million over the next four years to fight human trafficking
By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton
The Alberta government is providing $20.8 million over the next four years to implement recommendations from a star-led task force on human trafficking.
Country singer Paul Brandt, chair of the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force, personally thanked Premier Jason Kenney during the funding announcement Sunday at Edmonton International Airport for his willingness to prioritize the issue, and for putting faith in Brandt to lead the group.
“Premier Kenney’s longtime personal dedication and commitment to the issue of human trafficking is authentic and is admirable,” Brandt said.
“He’s the only political leader I’ve met in my 17 years of advocating for trafficking victims and survivors who took the time and initiative to personally write a plan to address this horrific crime.”
The money will establish an office to combat trafficking as well as a centre of excellence for research and data collection — recommendations the government accepted when the task force presented its report in March.
Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the goal is to launch the office by next summer.
Other task force recommendations that will be supported include a new grant for community projects and Indigenous-led and culturally appropriate services. Civilian positions that will focus on supporting victims and survivors throughout human trafficking investigations will also be funded.
“Human trafficking is far more prevalent — way more common — than the stats would suggest because it’s a hidden crime,” Kenney said at the announcement.
“It festers in the dark. There are victims who face fear, shame and self-doubt and some who will never report what they’ve gone through.”
The task force was appointed in May 2020 and engaged with nearly 100 experts and survivors of trafficking to provide guidance on how to best implement the government’s action plan to fight human trafficking.
The government has said human trafficking includes sexual exploitation, forced labour trafficking and trafficking in human organs or tissues.
Kenney, who will be replaced as premier when his United Conservative Party selects a new leader on Thursday, noted he started fighting human trafficking over 20 years ago when he was an MP and joined a group of international parliamentarians on a coalition to fight the practice.
Later as Canada’s immigration minister, he said he took steps to make it easier for human trafficking victims who had migrated to Canada to obtain safety and protection.
In winter 2019, he said he committed the UCP to a nine-point action plan to combat human trafficking, which led to the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act, which took effect in May 2020.
Brandt said it was exciting to be part of the funding commitment at the airport, where he said he stood in 2019 for a partnership with the facility and other groups in the Edmonton region to fight trafficking, which he called “modern day slavery.”
“It has been our dream that special focus and permanent funding would one day become a reality. Today is that day,” Brandt said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2022.
Alberta announces combined $187 million in addictions and homelessness funding
By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton
The Alberta government has announced more than $124 million over two years for addiction and mental health services in Edmonton and Calgary, with another $63 million aimed at reducing homelessness in the province over the same period.
The funding for Edmonton and Calgary will go toward increasing treatment spaces while expanding addiction services, with $70 million earmarked for capital spending and $54 million to assist operations.
A 75-bed, co-ed long-term treatment facility is planned to be operational in Edmonton by the end of 2023, while a similar facility is to be built in Calgary by early 2024.
The $63 million is to support steps outlined in the government’s action plan on homelessness.
Premier Jason Kenney stressed his government’s recovery-based approach to the addictions issue when he announced the funding Saturday, calling British Columbia’s recent move to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs in January “reckless.”
“In the area of addressing addictions, there are many that believe recovery is a false hope. It’s not possible, and instead what we should do is actually to facilitate dangerous addictions rather than to offer an off-ramp to freedom from addiction,” Kenney said during the announcement at Edmonton’s Herb Jamieson Centre.
“The whole point is to give people a fighting chance to escape from the grips of addiction so they have the opportunity to build a new, safe fulfilling life.
“Recovery works. It’s not a new concept or an untested Utopian theory,” he said.
Under the Alberta plan, the number of winter shelter spaces will be expanded in communities like Edmonton, Wetaskiwin and Lethbridge, and in rural communities where there is an urgent and unmet need.
All provincially funded shelters will also provide round-the-clock access seven days a week, while funding will be equalized between community-based organizations in Edmonton and Calgary.
The funding will include $5 million to create up to 450 additional shelter spots in Edmonton, bringing the number of emergency spaces in the city to over 1,000.
The plan also includes $2.5 million in 2022-2023 to test the so-called service hub model in two pilot programs in Calgary and Edmonton. These six-month long programs will connect people directly with support and services such as addictions recovery, housing and emergency financial support, beginning this fall.
Meanwhile, the addictions funding will be used to increase the ability of direct outreach teams through Edmonton police and Alberta Health Services to provide support and overdose prevention services. The same expansion of services will also be carried out in Calgary.
Edmonton police chief Dale McFee lauded the fact that housing options include support for mental health and addictions as he personally thanked Kenney for the new funding.
“This is the biggest single investment that I’ve ever seen over the course of my career in actually addressing the system versus putting more money into silos that are actually generating a lot of the problem,” McFee said at the announcement.
Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the funding would tackle the root causes of homelessness, and also praised the fact the province was delivering on a request to provide enhanced plans when prisoners are discharged from corrections facilities.
In July, the city requested a hub where social workers, firefighters and peace officers could work together to reduce crime and address a spike in violence downtown, in nearby Chinatown and and on the transit system.
“These investments show our collaborative approach is working, and together we are making life better for struggling Edmontonians,” Sohi said at the announcement.
But NDP Critic for Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson said in a news release that Kenney’s government has cut funding for housing, noting buildings that could have opened months ago are sitting empty because the government hasn’t provided operational funding.
“The money announced today does not even begin to address the deeper need for permanent supportive housing, social housing and affordable housing in this province,” she said.
According to the province, over 6,400 Albertans were experiencing homelessness— including nearly 4,000 using emergency shelters or on the streets — as of Jan. 31.
Alberta saw more than 1,600 opioid-related deaths in 2021.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2022.
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