Apparently, Alberta is working on improving its image which is being "tarred" by ravenous expansion of filthy tar sands oil.
A group called The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation seems to be playing the role of promoter for the government and corporate interests.
Still, this is an opportunity some of you may be interested in.
The group says they are: "seeking innovative ideas from around the world for a $35 million open innovation challenge that will create new, carbon-based products and markets. It is expected to identify multiple technologies that could provide significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by transforming carbon from a liability into an asset."
As long as they strip mine the boreal forest to get to the tar sands underneath, they will never be able to transform carbon into an asset. Then there's the extremely energy intensive process of turning that bitumen into oil, and the hazardous, toxic waste that goes into the air and water.
"We are seeking credible, bright ideas from around the world that will repurpose carbon and use it as a starting material, helping Alberta to create a market for carbon use," says Eric Newell, the group's Chair. "The approach could deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gases, complement other greenhouse gas reduction strategies, strengthen our economy and enhance Alberta's competitiveness."
They are looking for ideas at any stage of development that are rooted in solid science, such as processes that produce high value goods from greenhouse gas emissions, technologies that fix captured carbon into solid or readily transportable starting materials, high-value materials with high carbon content that could be produced from greenhouse gases and biological processes that capture or consume carbon and convert it into a new viable product, such as the creation of oils from algae.
While submissions are being invited from around the world, all technologies must be applicable to Alberta. All technical solution providers will maintain their intellectual property.
The goal is to fund technologies that can provide or exceed a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 1 megaton.
So far, they say, they've committed to fund 49 projects with a combined value of almost $1 billion. The projects are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 8 megatons over 10 years, enough to take more than 1.6 million cars off the road.
"With the eyes of the world on Alberta, now is the time for us to broaden our focus - by exploring and investing in technologies that drive our climate change targets and ensures we remain a global clean energy supplier," says Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Diana McQueen.
Clean energy supplier? Climate Change targets? Alberta's tar sands development is making it impossible for Canada to meet any such targets, even the measly 6% below 1990 levels they committed to under Kyoto (they pulled out).
According to estimates, there are between 1.7 to 2.5 trillion barrels of bitumen in the Alberta oil sands, they say.
"We are witnessing how industry-wide open innovation and collaboration can dramatically accelerate and improve environmental performance in the oil sands, a key economic driver for Canada," says Dr. Dan Wicklum, chief executive of Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. "The Grand Challenge represents a unique opportunity to bring the same kind of leading-edge thinking to the development of new technologies to unlock the potential of Canada's energy economy in an environmentally responsible way."
The Grand Challenge: Innovative Carbon Uses offers three rounds of funding that total $35 million over five years. The first round, with submissions due by July 15, 2013, offers grants of $500,000 for up to 20 projects.
The second round will provide $3 million each for up to five projects that have successfully advanced their technologies.
The winner of the Grand Challenge will be selected in the final round and will receive a $10 million grant to assist in establishing and commercializing their technology.
For each round of funding, awardees will be supported by mentors, business developers, venture capitalists and other partners.
Funding comes from industry payments into the government's Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund.
Since 2007, companies that operate in Alberta that emit more than 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases over a baseline must cut that intensity by 12%. They can do that by improving the efficiency of their operations, buying carbon credits in a government-sponsored offset system or pay $15 into the Fund for every ton that exceeds the limit. The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation invests those proceeds into the "discovery, development and deployment of clean technology."
Here's the Grand Challenge website: