Knowledge Centre expanding to Calgary, joins Avatar Ignite cleantech incubator

Regina, Sask. and Calgary, Alta. - The International CCS Knowledge Centre (the Knowledge Centre) is putting its unique experience developing large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects to work helping energy industry leaders navigate the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The Knowledge Centre is pleased to partner with Avatar Innovations to provide technical and strategic expertise to teams working on CCS-related projects as part of Avatar’s Ignite program, which sees dozens of emerging leaders from Canadian energy companies spend 14 weeks working in cross-functional teams, generating new ideas to tackle key industry challenges. The partnership is part of the Regina-based Knowledge Centre’s expansion to Alberta, including the hiring of additional engineering staff and leasing office space in the Energy Transition Centre in downtown Calgary.     

“Joining Avatar and the other leading innovation firms at the Energy Transition Centre is a natural evolution of our organization as large-scale CCS continues to gain momentum as a critical pillar for all heavy emitters: cement, steel and iron, mining and fertilizer, power, petrochemical, hydrogen and oil and gas. The goal is to use carbon capture and storage to meet their ambitious plans in addressing climate change,” says the Knowledge Centre’s President and CEO James Millar.

“We are excited to bring the knowledge and lessons we have acquired from major projects around the world, including our staff’s first-hand expertise bringing the world’s first industrial-scale CCS facility to life in Saskatchewan, to assist in getting the next generation of projects underway as soon as possible,” adds Millar.

The Knowledge Centre will sponsor a new CCS technology stream in the Avatar Ignite program beginning in February 2023. The program allows employees from supporting Canadian energy corporations to spend a portion of their regular work time developing innovative business plans that are judged by a ‘shark tank’ panel of experts who select promising projects for further commercial development.

“The International Energy Agency estimates that half the technology required to reach net zero emissions by 2050 does not exist yet, and more than $4 trillion needs to be invested annually in new energy technologies to get us there,” says Kevin Krausert, co-founder and CEO of Avatar Innovations. “Carbon capture and storage will be responsible for 25 per cent of the emission reductions required for global decarbonization, and our ground-breaking co-development model is designed to accelerate the technical, economic and policy solutions that are needed right now.”

Canada has been a leader in the first generation of CCS. It is home to five of the world’s 30 commercial CCS facilities, and accounts for approximately 15 per cent of current global CCS capacity even though our country generates less than two per cent of global CO2 emissions.

Canada’s latest climate plan calls for more than tripling the country’s CCS capacity over the next decade. It is expected to play a central role in eliminating emissions not only from the oil and gas sector, which accounted for 180 million tonnes of GHGs in 2020, but also the 115 million tonnes that come from power generation, cement manufacturing and other heavy industries. With more than 100 new projects in development worldwide, some estimate the CCS industry will grow to be a $55 billion/year industry by 2030.

The Knowledge Centre was created by BHP and SaskPower to share the pioneering experience from SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Unit 3 CCS facility, which began operation in 2014 and has safely captured and stored nearly five million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road for a year. Knowledge Centre experts have also completed a feasibility study for the world’s first CCS facility on a cement plant in Edmonton and are supporting early-stage engineering work on 11 CCS projects across Alberta industries through Emission Reduction Alberta’s Carbon Capture Kickstart funding program.

Beyond Alberta, the Knowledge Centre is advising clients on CCS projects across Canada, in the United Kingdom and the United States, and is collaborating with companies, governments and academia to advance support for CCS as a critical tool for countries to achieve the commitments under the Paris Agreement.

About the International CCS Knowledge Centre

The International CCS Knowledge Centre is a non-profit organization founded in 2016 by BHP and SaskPower to advance large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects as a critical means of managing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving the world’s ambitious climate goals.

The Knowledge Centre provides independent, expert advisory services throughout the lifecycle of CCS projects based on real-world experience from major CCS projects across the globe, including our team’s involvement in the development and ongoing optimization of the world’s first fully integrated post-combustion CCS facility. We have a proven track record of helping our clients lower costs, reduce risk and improve the performance of CCS projects across industries and technology platforms.  We also provide input to policy development and promote broad collaboration between stakeholders to enhance understanding of the critical role CCS plays in global decarbonization efforts. 

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About Avatar Innovations:

Avatar Innovations Inc. is an energy-focused, corporate innovation partner providing the oil and gas industry, and academia, a safe “third” space to ideate, collaborate, fail-fast, test and scale business solutions and technologies in a unique co-development model. The Avatar model brings together three important components into an integrated program. Avatar Ignite is a cohort-based educational program for emerging leaders working in the energy industry to ideate new business solutions – pulling out new technologies and processes from across the sector. Avatar Accelerator is delivered in partnership with the University of Calgary, York University, and industry to turn early-stage solutions generated in the Avatar program into viable businesses. Avatar Ventures provides early-stage capital to the most promising companies generated from the accelerator into scalable businesses and investment opportunities.

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WATCH a feature interview with the International CCS Knowledge Centre's President & CEO James Millar: