Increasing the pace of low carbon innovation

By Louis Rinfret

I’m thrilled as our research group has teamed-up with CMC-NCE to complete an important project, which is titled: “Achieving a Low-carbon, Globally Competitive Energy Economy: Removing Barriers and Cultivating Enablers to Innovation in Canada’s Oil Sands & Heavy Oil Industry.”

Our research team is composed of Dr. Harrie Vredenburg and Dr. Nancy Higginson, from U of Calgary, Dr. Luis Fernando Escobar, from U of Lethbridge, Dr. Adam Fremeth, from U of Western Ontario, and myself, Dr. Louis Rinfret, from U of Québec – Trois-Rivières. We have a well rounded skill-set and a balance of academic and industrial backgrounds. We bring expertise in energy strategy and policy but also high-technology innovation strategy and open innovation.  Our team also benefits from the advice of a panel of senior scholars who are recognized globally as leaders in the innovation field.

The purpose of our study is to systematically, scientifically investigate the barriers and enablers to breakthrough innovations in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Further, we will take pragmatic steps to enable more efficient innovation and commercialization of lower carbon emission technologies in the oil sands and heavy oil production industry and help corporate decision makers and policy makers alike better address this issue. Our study will thus contribute toward resolving the issue by reducing or eliminating the policy or organizational barriers to innovation and commercialization. This will increase the speed with which Canada moves to a lower carbon economy (LCE) while at the same time allowing the country to reap the economic benefits of its generous resource endowment and of exporting new technologies and management processes to other international jurisdictions where development of bitumen and heavy oil resources is in its infancy.

The project begins this spring and will complete in 2014. As part of it we will be looking for organizations in the Oil Sands and Heavy Oil industry to take part in our project. If your organization would be interested in exploring ways to improve its level of technology innovation, I would be interested in hearing from you. My email is

We’ll produce a number of reports along the way and look forward to sharing with you our progress and findings.

Louis Rinfret is a professor of Strategy and Innovation at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivères and a CMC investigator.