The Alberta government and the federal government are each providing $10 million to help build a test facility in Calgary for technologies that convert carbon dioxide emissions into usable products.

The Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre will be owned and operated by InnoTech Alberta, a subsidiary of Alberta Innovates.

It will initially be used by finalists of the Carbon Xprize, a global competition sponsored by power company NRG and Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance.

The competition offers $20 million in prize funding to innovators who can develop technologies to maximize the value of carbon dioxide emissions from industrial facilities.

Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous says Alberta has always been the place where people turn challenges into opportunities.

He says the technology centre shows how to grow the economy at the same time as protecting the environment.

"We have some of the brightest minds on the planet competing in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, working on technologies the world needs to lower emissions," said Dan Wicklum, chief executive of COSIA.

"The ACCTC will be one of the few places in the world where carbon conversion technologies can be tested at a real-life scale."

Friday's announcement was lauded by the Alberta Clean Technology Industry Alliance and the Pembina Institute.

"This the latest piece of good news for Alberta's clean tech sector," said Jason Switzer of the alliance. "The combination of the Carbon XPrize, investments by Emissions Reductions Alberta, and now the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre are helping make the case that our province is a global destination for developing and proving out the technologies that the world needs for a prosperous transition to a low-carbon economy."

"Establishing plug and play technology sandboxes like the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre is an excellent way to create partnerships and accelerate our learning with respect to new technologies, in order to develop emissions solutions and create economic opportunities," said Duncan Kenyon of the Pembina Institute.

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Is it just another way to let the fossil fuel industry, especially the bitumen oil sands industry, produce more CO2 and get away with it? Is it the same kind of scam where the fossil fuel industry used millions of dollars from the public purse (a $2 billion funding from the Alberta Government and more money from the Federal) trying to persuade us that carbon capture and storage (CCS) was the solution to reduce Canada's GHG emissions (the former Auditor General of Alberta, Fred Dunn, has suggested that CCS projects could potentially waste billions of dollars with little or no GHG reduction)?
The only solution to reduce emissions is to phase-out fossil fuel production altogether and invest in clean renewable forms of energy. If Canadian oil producers can invest billions of dollars in the Alberta bitumen oil sands, they do not need more public money subsidizing their industry (the fossil fuel industry already gets over $3 billion in subsidies every year).