CALGARY—Cenovus Energy Inc. is investing $6.3 million in two Canadian companies to help fund innovations in energy and technology
Vancouver-based Saltworks Technologies Inc. is receiving $2.5 million expand its method of converting salt water into fresh water. The company’s desalination technology removes salt from seawater and underground saline (brackish) water by harnessing low heat provided by solar energy or waste heat from power generation, which reduces the amount of mechanical and electrical energy required.
“Cenovus’s investment allows us to focus on delivering a robust product to the energy industry,” says Ben Sparrow, CEO at Saltworks.
“We’ve recently cut the ribbon on our factory and membrane manufacturing facility and we look forward to building low-energy plants for…customers around the world.”
Potential applications for Saltworks’ technology include processing water for industry, producing drinking water and irrigation water for agriculture.
“Water is a precious resource and its availability is a critical issue around the world,” says Judy Fairburn, executive vice-president of Environment and Strategic Planning at Cenovus. “The ability to convert saline water into usable fresh water could change how we use water in our operations and provide communities with sustainable, safe sources of water.”
Cenovus also invested $3.8 million in General Fusion, a Burnaby, B.C.-based firm developing nuclear fusion technology to produce energy.
Fusion produces energy when two atoms come into contact and bind together the same way the sun
General Fusion uses hydrogen atoms, which are found in abundance in seawater. The by-products of the reaction are safe for the environment and the process emits no greenhouse gases.
“As world energy demand increases, we’ll need all types of energy to meet those needs. Fusion technology has the potential to revolutionize energy production,” says Fairburn.
Cenovus Energy Inc. is a Canadian, integrated oil company that has committed approximately $16 million to its Environmental Opportunity Fund (EOF), which invests in projects that improve energy efficiency, mitigate the environmental impacts of hydrocarbon production, and alternative and renewable energy sources.
Its Operations include oil sands projects in northern Alberta, which use specialized methods to drill and pump the oil to the surface. It also has established natural gas and oil production in Alberta and Saskatchewan.