Emissions Reduction Alberta’s (ERA) participation in the Accelerating CCUS Technologies (ACT) 4 Call funding initiative is helping advance clean technology solutions, leveraging international collaboration and investment. Spearheading a global effort, this initiative focuses on developing affordable and innovative carbon sequestration monitoring technologies to drive effective carbon capture and storage (CCS) practices.
One of the primary challenges in carbon sequestration projects is the assurance that captured CO2 remains safely stored underground. Governments, companies, and regulators demand robust measurement, monitoring, and verification (MMV) solutions to verify that emissions are not escaping back into the atmosphere. Traditional seismic technologies, though effective, face cost and data limitations, leaving a critical gap in the ability to ensure long-lasting carbon sequestration.
With participation from the SINTEF – Norway Group, Carbon Management Canada (CMC), the University of Calgary (UCalgary) in Alberta, and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs in the United States, the ACT 4 Call initiative focuses on assessing monitoring solutions to accurately map CO2 storage beneath the subsurface with an overall commitment to accelerate CCS efforts globally.
SPARSE Long-Term, Low-Cost Monitoring
Through the ACT 4 initiative, CMC and UCalgary are playing a crucial role in assessing passive monitoring solutions for subsurface CO2 plume mapping in the form of the SPARSE (Sparse Passive Active Reservoir monitoring using Seismic, Electromagnetics, gravity and surface deformation) project. To lead the development of carbon storage hubs across Alberta and Canada, there is an imperative need to deploy reliable, efficient, and cost-effective MMV technologies. This project aims to use strategically positioned sensors, otherwise known as sparse nodes, to collect data such as seismic activity, electromagnetic fields, gravity shifts and surface changes to reduce long-term CO2 monitoring costs. The ultimate goal of the SPARSE project is to achieve real-time subsurface CO2 plume mapping. Over the next three years, the SPARSE project will play a pivotal role in shaping MMV strategies for CCS sites on a national and international scale by creating long-term solutions for safe and secure CO2 storage.
“This project represents a paradigm shift in how we can monitor the geological storage of CO2 at a large scale in a cost-effective manner, while assuring containment and conformance of the CO2 plume. The funding from ERA will enable us to develop this technology as a proof of concept at CMC’s Newell County Facility in Southern Alberta.” – Dr. Don Lawton, Director of Science, CMC
“This project is a poster child for the energy evolution – taking areas of existing geoscience expertise and applying them to a major gap in CCUS— the monitoring to confirm effective sequestration. If we can successfully solve this, many more sequestration projects will be able to go ahead with the trust of regulators and the public.” – Dr. Kristopher Innanen, Director of CREWES and Principal Investigator, UCalgary.
Innovative Monitoring Solutions
The ACT 4 initiative along with CMC and UCalgary’s SPARSE project is redefining the landscape of carbon sequestration monitoring by utilizing the physics of seismic analysis. The collaborative effort aims to create an array of affordable and versatile sensor technologies. These sensors will provide companies with the tools to demonstrate to regulatory bodies that their carbon capture initiatives are operating seamlessly, and securely containing CO2 within geological reservoirs.
International Collaboration for Global Impact
At its core, ACT 4 is designed to leverage Norway, Alberta, and the United States to foster global collaboration. By integrating diverse technologies, practices, and expertise, such as the SPARSE project, the initiative aims to accelerate CCUS technologies on a global scale.
A Pathway to a Sustainable Future
Funding from ERA is sourced from Alberta’s industry-funded Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund. With $1.1 million allocated until 2026, the SPARSE project is on track to accelerate cost-efficient solutions that address the challenge of verifying carbon sequestration. By collaborating with international partners, the initiative aims to bring together diverse datasets, technologies, and practices to offer a range of solutions that guarantee the safety and security of stored CO2.
Breanne O’Reilly, Director, Program Development and External Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 403-542-9632
Nadine Sander-Green, Senior External Communications, Faculty of Science, UCalgary, email@example.com, 587-575-9873
About Carbon Management Canada (CMC)
CMC is a national, not-for-profit organization working to develop and deploy emissions reduction solutions to support Canadian industries. CMC aims to move solutions more quickly from research to market, thereby growing the Canadian economy, increasing Canada’s competitiveness in world markets, and supporting practical, feasible, and economically viable industrial emissions reductions. We assist innovators in developing methane monitoring, CCUS and subsurface monitoring technologies, and provide techno-economic analysis to companies, investors, and governments to direct research, development, investment, and policymaking. Learn more about CMC’s initiatives here.
About University of Calgary (U Calgary)
UCalgary is Canada’s entrepreneurial university, located in Canada’s most enterprising city. It is a top research university and one of the highest-ranked universities of its age. Founded in 1966, its 35,000 students experience an innovative learning environment, made rich by research, hands-on experiences and entrepreneurial thinking. It is Canada’s leader in the creation of start-ups. Start something today at the University of Calgary.
For more information, visit ucalgary.ca. Stay up to date with UCalgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. For access to UCalgary news releases, images and b-roll, and details on faculties and how to reach experts, check out our newsroom at ucalgary.ca/newsroom.
About Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA):
For more than 14 years, ERA has been investing revenues from the carbon price paid by large emitters to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative clean technology solutions. Since we were established in 2009, we have committed nearly $910 million toward 260 projects worth over $7.3 billion that are helping to reduce GHGs, create competitive industries and are leading to new business opportunities in Alberta. These projects are estimated to deliver cumulative GHG reductions of 40 million tonnes by 2030 and 108 million tonnes by 2050. Learn more about Emissions Reduction Alberta.