From science to literature to entertainment, there are prestigious prizes up for grabs in each of these fields to incent and recognize excellence and creativity.
Big advances in physics, chemistry and medicine are hailed with a Nobel Prize. Writers vie for multiple literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. And in showbiz, an Oscar, Emmy or more than a single appearance on American Idol are notable holy grails.
GE’s Innovation Challenge
The company is offering up to $1 million in an open competition targeting two of the largest but most challenging opportunities to reduce oil sands greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: finding new uses for waste heat and ideas for generating steam more efficiently.
Winners of the competition stand to receive cash as seed money to 'further develop and commercialize the proposed solutions'.
Not only will the challenge winners get funding to develop their ideas, they’ll have the chance to be a GE supplier or contractor on future projects.
Waste heat, steam generation
While Suncor and its industry peers use leading-edge cogeneration technology to convert waste heat to steam for upgraders and extraction operations, facilities do produce some low level heat that goes unused, undermining a site’s energy efficiency.
Steam generation also represents a significant improvement opportunity because it’s widely used in both in situ and mining operations. Most steam is produced by burning natural gas, which results in GHG emissions.
GE’s challenge has resulted from collaboration with Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), specifically with a COSIA team led by Suncor. COSIA, as well as Alberta Innovates, are strategic advisors to GE’s challenge. GE has already partnered with Suncor and other members of COSIA to help devise new ways to curb GHG emissions and water use.
Emissions intensity reduced
While GHG emissions remain a daunting challenge, the industry is making progress.
Between 1990 and 2012, GHG emissions associated with every barrel of oil sands crude produced have been reduced by 28 per cent, according to Environment Canada.
While the winners of GE’s GHG ecomagination Innovation Challenge won’t likely get their mugs in Science journal, walk a red carpet or hit the book store circuit, their contributions stand to be rewarded through development of their idea or business, and welcomed by industry.
The Walrus Talks Energy
The next Walrus Talks Energy event will be taking place on Wednesday, October 1 at 7 p.m. at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, ON.