ERA invests $50 million for projects to support Alberta’s circular economy

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is committing $50 million through its new Circular Economy Challenge to accelerate the province’s transition towards a low-emissions economy.
The investment from the Government of Alberta through ERA is focused on advancing innovations that will reduce the impacts of material production, processing, and disposal, and support economic diversification.   

Funding is sourced from the Government of Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund. ERA launched the Circular Economy Challenge at GLOBE Forum on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. 

“Advancing technology solutions that extend the lifecycle of products makes good environmental and economic sense. Accelerating the circular economy keeps valuable materials out of landfills for longer, which drives investment, bolsters economic activity, cuts emissions and creates jobs. A rise in commodity prices, like nickel, has also renewed the urgency for a circular economy and maximizing the value of our existing resources and industries. This is the perfect time for the Circular Economy Challenge to thrive, and we look forward to seeing these exciting projects take shape,” says Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks. 

“A circular economy, at its core, is about shifting traditional resource and waste challenges into new opportunities. ERA is actively seeking out the best and brightest ideas to inspire the adoption of technologies that support this new economy,” says Steve MacDonald, CEO, Emissions Reduction Alberta. 

ERA will match private contributions to a single project for up to 50 per cent of the project’s eligible expenses. Successful applicants are eligible for up to $10 million with a minimum request of $500,000. The application deadline is Thursday, May 26, 2022, at 5 p.m. (MST).  

Applications are invited for projects at the stages of field pilot, demonstration, or first-of-kind commercial implementation. The $50 million Circular Economy Challenge is open to new builds, retrofits, and projects that have been previously initiated but have stalled due to the current economic situation. The maximum length for projects is three years from initiation.   

Innovators, technology developers, Indigenous communities, industrial facility owners and operators, industrial associations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), research and development organizations, universities, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, government research labs, and individuals are invited to apply. 

“To reach net zero, adopting a circular collaborative approach across industries is critical and the possibilities are endless. We recycle fly ash for use in cement and are working to convert carbon emissions into nanotubes for multiple uses. ERA’s circular economy funding will boost collaboration and invest in the creativity and innovation critical for meaningful emission reductions,” says Brian Vaasjo, President and CEO, Capital Power.

Projects may involve components outside of Alberta, but all technology demonstration and deployment activities must occur in the province. Projects could include waste-to-value-add products, high value material extraction from waste streams, metals recycling and reuse, novel mineral sources, agriculture waste reduction, municipal waste, carbon dioxide conversion or utilization, and advanced plastics recycling and circular plastics technologies.  

Partnerships are encouraged. Consortiums help attract and retain highly skilled workers, increase Alberta’s innovation capacity, engage local communities, and leverage complementary resources. Applicants are encouraged to partner with Alberta’s post-secondary and research institutions, Indigenous communities, co-operative organizations, and municipalities where they can.  

Submissions will be selected through ERA’s competitive review process. A team of experts in science, engineering, business development, commercialization, financing, and GHG quantification will conduct an independent, rigorous, transparent review overseen by a Fairness Monitor.  

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