Collaboration & partnerships
To accelerate the development of technologies to help reduce our impacts on air, land and water resources, Cenovus collaborates with industry peers and actively partners with other industries, organizations, academic institutions, scientists and entrepreneurs to find innovative solutions and develop sustainability initiatives.
Alberta Innovates is a provincial government agency that provides support for early-stage technology developers. Cenovus has worked with Alberta Innovates on a number of projects including development of the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre for the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition and our pilot project to advance Solvent-driven-Process (SDP) technology, a steam-free alternative to SAGD production that could materially reduce emissions intensity.
COSIA is an alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands through collaborative action and innovation. The alliance was launched March 1, 2012 when representatives of Canada’s largest oil sands companies came together in Calgary to sign the COSIA charter.
COSIA’s guiding principle is that all members will have greater success by collaborating on environmental innovation than through our individual efforts. By pooling our resources, and those of the best minds outside our industry, our objective is to develop and share innovative approaches to improve the oil sands industry’s environmental performance.
To date, COSIA member companies have shared 981 distinct environmental technologies that cost approximately $1.4 billion to develop. Here are some of the projects we’re working on or have contributed through COSIA:
CRIN is a network of oil and gas industry professionals, innovators and technology incubators and accelerators. Its objective is to increase the Canadian oil and gas industry’s capacity to test, pilot and demonstrate clean technologies that could significantly reduce GHG emissions and improve environmental performance in our industry.
In 2019, CRIN was awarded a $100 million Strategic Innovation Fund, of which $80 million will be used to seed three open competitions focused on reducing environmental footprint, creating value-added products and developing new digital technologies. On March 24, 2021, CRIN launched the three competitions:
- CRIN’s Reducing Environmental Footprint Technology Competition powered by Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA): $50M total awards; maximum $10M to any project; phase 1 application window March 24 – May 20, 2021
- Low Emission Fuels and Products Technology Competition powered by Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre and The Delphi Group: $25M total awards; maximum $10M to any project; phase 1 application window March 31 – June 9, 2021
- Digital Oil and Gas Technology Competition powered by MaRS: $5M total awards; maximum $1M to any project; single-stage application window May 19 – July 30, 2021
For more information visit the CRIN competition page.
ERA is a provincial government agency that invests in GHG-reducing technologies that are at the demonstration and early commercial stages. ERA has been a key partner for the following Cenovus-led initiatives:
- Flash steam generator – improving the efficiency of steam generation and reducing water use
- Multi-pad pilot of a solvent-aided process – reducing steam use and GHG emissions
- Partial upgrader with integrated water treatment – upgrading bitumen to a lighter oil at our sites
- Post combustion carbon capture using molten carbonate fuel cell pilot – using fuel cells to generate electricity and water and capture carbon dioxide
- REMVue/slipstream air/fuel ratio control and vent capture project – increasing energy efficiency and reducing methane emissions
EFL was developed to help Alberta navigate the changing energy system and position itself within a low-carbon future while also facilitating a dialogue to improve public confidence about the energy system in a non-polarized way. Our involvement in EFL allows us to engage with other stakeholders to help shape the energy future, test and gain access to new ideas and solutions, develop potential partnerships to advance technologies and policy ideas and work with targeted groups to accelerate technology that will help enhance Cenovus’s reputation as a responsible developer.
Cenovus, along with Suncor Energy and the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance, is a co-founder of Evok Innovations, a first-of-its-kind $100 million investment partnership to connect the energy industry and the global clean technology community. Evok is an independent, entrepreneur-led fund that offers mentorship, access to the oil and gas industry and development funding for early-stage clean technology companies.
Evok’s mission is to accelerate the development and commercialization of environmental and economic solutions that could be applied to other industries in Canada and around the world. Cenovus and Suncor have committed to provide up to $50 million each over 10 years to fund Evok Innovations.
Since its launch in 2016, Evok has invested in clean technology companies working on everything from a light-weight boom for marine spill response, to an intelligent visual monitoring solution that reduces operational costs, emissions and safety risks, to a novel new process to generate industrial scale hydrogen from natural gas. Cleantech investments include:
We're reimagining CO2
What if we could turn carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into something useful?
With support from seven member companies, including Cenovus, Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) sponsored the US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE together with NRG Energy of the U.S. This competition challenged teams from around the world to develop innovative approaches to convert captured CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels into valuable products and consumer goods. These CO2 emissions would otherwise end up in the atmosphere.
The competition had two tracks - one focused on testing technologies at a coal power plant in the U.S. and one focused on testing technologies at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre, located at a natural gas power plant in Calgary. Finalist teams from around the world have been vying for two grand prizes of US$7.5 million. The winning teams will convert the most CO2 into products with the highest value determined by the amount of CO2 they convert and the net value of their products. Teams also needed to demonstrate their full impact on the use of energy, water, land, CO2 emissions, and other variables that impact sustainability.
On April 19, 2021, five years after launching the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, CarbonCure (Dartmouth, NS) and CarbonBuilt (Los Angeles, CA) were announced as the winners, receiving the final prizes of US $7.5 million each. Learn more about the winners at www.transformingthefuture.ca
What is an XPRIZE?
An XPRIZE inspires innovation and positive change for current problems believed to be unsolvable or with no clear path to a solution. The XPRIZE Foundation is the global leader in large-scale incentive prize competitions that bring together bright minds to find solutions to global problems.
Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre
A legacy outcome of this project in Canada is the creation of the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre, a unique facility to commercialize CO2 utilization and conversion technologies. Following the completion of the Carbon XPRIZE competition, the ACCTC will continue as a test centre for new technology development in CO2 utilization. With its unique capabilities, the ACCTC is expected to become a global hub for innovators working on groundbreaking CO2 conversion technologies.
Cenovus is a significant funder of this Research Chair which conducts research in the area of energy systems and their impacts on the environment, focusing on renewable and non-renewable energy sources. This initiative is a unique opportunity for academics, industry and the province of Alberta, with the support of the federal government through the NSERC IRC Program, to collaborate on projects that are expected to inform better choices on future energy systems for Canadians.
On June 9th, 2021, Cenovus Energy joined with Canadian Natural Resources, Imperial, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy to announce the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative. The goal of this collaboration is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the companies’ oil sands operations by 2050 and help Canada meet its climate goals, including the Paris Agreement commitments and 2050 net zero aspirations. Collaboration between industry and government will be critical to progressing the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero vision and achieving Canada’s climate goals. The Pathways vision is anchored by a major Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) trunkline connected to a carbon sequestration hub to enable multi-sector ‘tie-in’ projects for expanded emissions reductions. Read the news release announcing the initiative.
PTAC is a Canadian association with the mandate to facilitate innovation, collaborative research and technology development in the Canadian oil and natural gas industry. PTAC specifically focuses on ways to improve operational efficiencies, enhance environmental stewardship and advance regulatory development.
Working directly with producers, governments, regulatory bodies, technology providers, academic institutions, service and supply companies, entrepreneurs and transporters, PTAC has completed nearly 500 research and development projects since its inception. In 2019, PTAC facilitated, coordinated, and managed 116 collaborative innovation and technology development projects to help the oil and gas industry reduce costs and mitigate environmental impacts.
Cenovus works with PTAC on methane reduction initiatives, reclamation and remediation, water innovation and well abandonment research.