Entrepreneurial Investments

Clean Technology Commercialization Program: CHOPS Methane Challenge

The May 4, 2018 Phase 1 submission deadline has passed. Applications are no longer being accepted.


In December 2017, the Government of Alberta published the Climate Change Innovation and Technology Framework (CCITF) as the overarching guide for the government’s investments in innovation and technology to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while preparing our province for the lower carbon economy of tomorrow. Building upon the success of the Alberta Small Business Innovation and Research Initiative (ASBIRI), a dedicated Clean Technology Commercialization program has been developed.

The Alberta Innovates/Husky Oil CHOPS Methane Challenge

Alberta Innovates and Husky Oil Operations are partnering to challenge Alberta small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop viable technologies that measure and manage vented GHG emissions related to Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS).

Under the Climate Leadership Plan, the Government of Alberta will require reductions in methane emissions of 40 to 45 per cent below 2014 levels by 2025, with regulations limiting vented methane to come into effect in 2023. New regulations are expected to be released in the near future by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). The Government of Canada is expected to mandate similar reductions.

Heavy oil deposits through Alberta and Saskatchewan are in the range of 55 billion barrels in place with Alberta holding around one-third of that total. The challenge is to reduce the environmental impact from production without becoming cost-prohibitive. This would allow continued production and benefits to Alberta at the same time as aligning with Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan and reducing Husky’s GHG intensity.

Alberta Innovates can provide funding support a total of up to $1 million to awarded applicants through this challenge. The awarded applicants will be responsible for a minimum of 25 per cent of their total project costs.

The CHOPS Methane Challenge encompasses two distinct but complementary technology streams. Please identify which streams you are applying to in the Executive Summary of your application. Applicants can apply for one or both and can include partner organizations in their application. Applications with integrated solution are preferred but not required.

  1. Stream 1: Measurement of vented casing gas.
  2. Stream 2: Management, mitigation or capture of surface casing vent gas and tank gas.

Available funding will be allocated to each stream based on needs analysis of the awarded applicants’ proposals. Applicants are welcome to apply for one or both streams.

Overall, solutions must:

  • Be economically viable
  • Have a minimal footprint (i.e. not requiring additional land-leasing)
  • Be fully functional in cold weather (colder than -35 degrees Celsius)
  • Be capable of communicating with existing SCADA systems

Challenge details and links

The Challenge will be rolled out in three stages outlined as follows, with additional details made available as we progress:

  1. Phase I: Opportunity Identification 
    This phase is open to the public and will require Applicants to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). The EOI will be used to assess and identify opportunities that align with the challenge, have a clear competitive advantage, have a viable path to market and will have a significant impact in Alberta within a reasonable timeframe. Challenge Stream must be identified in the EOI (i.e. Measurement and/or Management).
  2. Phase II: Business Readiness 
    This phase is by invitation only, with successful participants selected from Phase I. Applicants will be required to submit their up-to-date year-end financial statements, a five-year financial forecast and a basic business plan.
  3. Phase III: Go-to-Market Plan 
    This phase is by invitation only, with successful participants selected from Phase II. Applicants will be required to submit a proposal outlining the development/demonstration of their technology in collaboration with the appropriate partners, including academia or other industry, as well as letters of support (if applicable).

The following table outlines the anticipated application schedule and timeframe. Please note that Alberta Innovates may adjust the schedule depending on review requirements.

In order to be eligible, complete submissions for each phase must be received by the set deadline date no later than 4 p.m. MST.

 Item Timeframe Deadline
 Challenge Launch N/A March 23, 2018
 Applicant Webinar 1.5 hours April 4, 2018
 Phase I – Submission Deadline Six weeks May 4, 2018
 Phase I – Results Notification Six weeks June 12, 2018
 Phase II – Submission Deadline Five weeks July 26, 2018
 Phase II – Results Notification Six weeks August 31, 2018
 Phase III – Submission Deadline Six weeks October 12, 2018
 Phase III – Pitch Session One week October 18, 2018
 Phase III – Results Notification Five weeks November 23, 2018

Additional important information

Any changes will be announced and posted. Please check back periodically.

Click here to access the online portal to begin your application. Be sure to select “Clean Technology Commercialization” from the application type drop-down.

For complete information, including evaluation criteria and much more, see the CHOPS Methane Challenge Business Case and Husky’s feedback from Applicant Webinar.

For more detailed information about the procedures and policies governing this funding challenge, familiarize yourself with our Clean Technology Commercialization program guide.

Program Contact Information

Name: Alistair Hazewinkel
Title: Senior Business Partner
Phone: 780-450-5334
Email: alistair.hazewinkel@albertainnovates.ca