10 companies split $58M in funding for innovative sustainability projects

The investments are part of Alberta’s Circular Economy Challenge.

The Carbon Upcycling team in front of their 20 Tonne Reactor in Calgary, Alberta.

Alberta is committing $58 million for circular economy projects in the province worth $528 million in public and private investment.

The funding is through Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) and is sourced from the province’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund.

“Advancing technology solutions that support a circular economy makes good environmental and economic sense, said Sonya Savage, minister of environment and protected areas, in a statement. “Circular Economy Challenge projects supported by the TIER fund will help keep valuable materials in the economy and out of landfills, which drives investment, bolsters economic activity, cuts emissions, and creates jobs. It’s a win across the board.”

Some examples of technology solutions receiving funding through ERA’s Circular Economy Challenge include producing high-quality fertilizer for farmers, recycling asphalt from roof shingles, sequestering carbon in concrete, and novel plastics recycling.

The province said, if successful, these projects will result in cumulative greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of up to four million tonnes by 2050—equal to offsetting the GHG footprint of one million homes. Circular Economy Challenge funding is expected to create 1,835 person-year jobs in Alberta and have a $350 million GDP impact in the province by 2025.

“A more sustainable, diversified provincial economy requires using our resources more wisely, we need to think about waste as a resource rather than a cost. This investment in converting waste into other uses is going to make a real difference,” said Justin Riemer, CEO of Emissions Reduction Alberta, in a news release.

Government officials said the investment aligns with provincial initiatives, including the proposed Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) approach, the agricultural plastics recycling initiative, and the Natural Gas Vision and Strategy’s goal to establish Alberta as a centre of excellence for plastics diversion and recycling. Circular Economy Challenge projects support waste reduction, material and feedstock substitution, value recovery, and reduction of the life cycle and environmental footprint of materials and products. The innovations invested in here will support industry competitiveness, new venture creation, and economic diversification, the province explained.

The projects included in the funding are:

  • Design, build, and commence operations of a new asphalt roof shingles recycling facility

  • ERA funding: $7.1 million | Project cost: $20.6 million

  • Dehydrate inedible eggs from an existing grading and packing facility into a powder to be used for pet food and animal feed

  • ERA funding: $500,000 | Project cost: $1 million

  • Treat the byproduct of the anaerobic digestion process to produce fertilizer, peat, cattle bedding, and clean water on site

  • ERA funding: $8.4 million | Project cost: $19 million

  • Divert slurry from the landfill and recover valuable products from the hydro-vacuum process

  • ERA funding: $1.7 million | Project cost: $8 million

  • Demonstrate a commercial-scale carbon sequestration and utilization technology for the cement and concrete sector

  • ERA funding: $4.4 million | Project cost: $11 million

  • Construction of a large-scale, commercial, net-zero yellow pea fractionation facility

  • ERA funding: $10 million | Project cost: $231 million

  • Recover Vanadium, a valuable critical metal/element, from the fly ash byproduct from coke-fired boilers and use it in the growing energy storage market

  • ERA funding: $7 million | Project cost: $36 million

  • Construct and operate a first-of-kind commercial facility to create a sustainable, advanced bio-composite material made from hemp stalk

  • ERA funding: $10 million | Project cost: $174.5 million

  • Reclaim rubber from end-of-life, high-grade tires from industrial activities and sell the end product back to manufacturers for use in new tires

  • ERA funding: $3.2 million | Project cost: $16 million

  • Install and commission a recycling system for high-density polyethylene containers used to transport liquid and solid wastes and process them into new products

  • ERA funding: $700,000 | Project cost: $1.4 million

ERA was established in 2009, and since then it has committed $884 million toward 246 projects worth $7.1 billion that are helping to reduce GHGs in Alberta.

These projects are estimated to deliver cumulative GHG reductions of 40 million tonnes by 2030, and 99 million tonnes by 2050.