Accomplishments of network are many, says Adamson

Richard Adamson

Richard Adamson, Managing Director

May/June have been amazing and busy months for Carbon Management Canada.

As we race toward our transformation to the new “CMC2.0” business model we also pulled together our ever-growing community for the best-ever CMC annual conference.

Thanks to all who were involved organizing the 2013 event, and especially to the 275+ people who attended. You made this the best ever!

As we approach the end of our period operating as CMC-NCE, I’d like to reflect on some of the progress we made over the past three-and-a half-years.

National community established

When CMC-NCE was established in 2009 there was no national, multi-disciplinary community of researchers with an interest in industrial greenhouse gases emission reduction. From this standing-start CMC pulled together a network of 27 Canadian academic research institutions and a portfolio of 44 excellent research projects across a broad range of disciplines from social sciences to chemistry, biology, geosciences, and of course process engineering. While these projects were led by Principle Investigators based at Canadian research universities, their research teams included members from federal and provincial research labs, industry partners, and university researchers in six countries.

Mandate broadened to include cement/mining

CMC-NCE’s initial focus was on the fossil energy sector, however, the window was broadened to include cement, mining and metallurgical processing. As a result the level of engagement from all regions was strengthened and we now have a truly national network of multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary researchers and a portfolio of excellent projects to which CMC has committed approximately $22M.

While we have garnered an impressive range of statistics, including transfer-to-practice, HQP development, and outreach, some of the most gratifying feedback has been anecdotal (unfortunately these are paraphrased as they have been passed along):

  • At our first annual conference in Calgary (2011) hearing comments from senior researchers like:  “I have met more people I didn’t know at this event than any conference I have attended in many years.” And from an engineer following a presentation on policy and regulation: “It doesn’t matter how good we get the technology side if those guys don’t get it right.”
  • At our second conference: “We are working with people we didn’t even know before CMC, and this team is really starting to click.  I think we are going to do some great work together.”
  • And at the 2013 conference: “The best part was the non-technical panels.  It really helps to get thinking about different aspects of how to commercialize our technologies: impacts of regulatory changes, who to partner with, and where we might go for money.”

When we set out to nudge the culture toward greater collaboration and to increased thinking about how research results flange up to applications in the practitioner community (whether industrial technology, policy/regulation, or decision-making processes) we were hoping for just these sorts of results.

Work will continue

The CMC-NCE team is delighted with the tremendous progress and achievements of the research network over the past few years. But we are not done yet. We will continue to distribute funds to the Round 3 projects thanks to funding support from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. By the end of this month (June 2013), funds will have been distributed to all Round 1 and 2 projects. We also intend to continue with our international outreach efforts, finding ways to encourage and support international collaboration. This has already started through memoranda established with the Stanford Center for Carbon Storage, UK CCS Research Centre, CO2 Centre for Collaborative Research in Australia, and the Korea CCS Research Centre. CMC has committed to fund HQP exchanges with three of these organizations as an initial step toward making these agreements more than symbolic (see story in this Update).

More importantly, though we may be changing our business model our commitment to reducing industrial GHG emissions through innovation remains as strong. We will continue to work with and grow the CMC network, supporting researchers in transferring high potential research results to practice, regardless of whether CMC funded the original work. In fact, a major thrust of CMC2.0 will be on new approaches to bring academic research expertise to solve industry challenges, and to facilitate the transfer of research results to practice. Hence the title of our new business plan “Ideas to Impact”.

In our next newsletter we will lay out the path forward for CMC2.0 as we transition to an exciting new business model.