Centre for Energy Research and Clean Unconventional Technology Solutions
ARIS' Centre for Energy Research and Clean Unconventional Technology Solutions (CERCUTS) is home to inventive ideas, programs, and partnerships that work together to bring environmentally sound, reliable, secure and highly efficient clean energy solutions with the integration of unconventional and alternative energy.
Building on ARIS's deep-rooted applied research and development expertise, this centre functions as a technology solutions provider, collaborator, and accelerator to energy innovation.
We're associated with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Industry Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC) program in In-situ Steam Generation and Clean Technologies. We boast three laboratories that provide space to test lab-scale test rigs or small-scale pilot demonstration systems for energy research and to catalyze partnerships with industry, industry associations, regulators, new graduates, start-ups (SU), small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), communities of practice, indigenous communities and others. Funding for this centre was made possible by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Alberta Government and the Canada Oilsands Innovation Alliance (COSIA).
We would like to hear from you to work alongside you to develop energy innovation and transfer environmentally sound technology solutions for the benefit of society and industry.
The expertise available through CERCUTS and the NSERC-IRCC program is diverse. Research scientists, engineers, and technologists work together with faculty, students, new graduates, and highly qualified personnel (HQPs) with thought leaders and industry experts. This equity, diversity and inclusivity-driven group joins together from multiple disciplines to contribute their ideas, unique expertise or skills, and experiences to implement environmentally sound, unconventional, and alternative energy solutions.
ARIS CERCUTS engages or collaborates with several techno-entrepreneurs, industry experts, consultants, post-secondary institutions, industry associations, businesses, and community stakeholders — allowing us to learn, share and contribute to an even greater pool of expertise to solve key 21st-century and environmental challenges for the economic benefit, well-being and advancement of society.
Facilities and research themes
The Clean Technology Industry Innovation Lab is located in the Aldred Centre on SAIT's main campus. It allows companies to cost-effectively develop, fabricate and test clean technologies, rapidly improve existing energy technologies and test alternative energy and emission reduction technologies prior to commercialization. Clean technology research collaborates with industry partners from across the energy, electricity, and natural gas utilities, transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, IT, and many sectors.
Techno-entrepreneurs, technology vendors, SU, SMEs, businesses, industry, and others interested in partnering with us have access to using this lab and are welcome to develop their new products, processes, and technologies for improvement, functional operation, testing, and technology verification.
- Vanadium redox flow batteries – utility-scale; lithium and other battery storage
- Distributed energy resources, electrification, and grid stabilization
- Hydrogen electrolyzers/fuel cells, solid oxide fuel cells, electricity, and transportation
- Testing high-temperature and high-pressure systems for process fluid purification
- Coatings with plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition and selective corrosion protection
- Energy IoT, real-time sensors, SCADA, data analytics, aggregate, ML algorithms, AI
- Plastic recycling technologies and circular economy strategies and solutions
- Methane emission reduction and carbon capture, usage, storage, and management
- Alternative energy technologies, CHP, and low-carbon technology solutions
The Water Research and Innovation Lab is located in the Senator Burns Building on SAIT's main campus. It has state-of-the-art infrastructure, equipment, and chemical instrumentation to conduct accurate analytical characterization of water and solid contaminants. The sources of water and their contaminants may vary because they come from various sectors such as agriculture, biofuels, biomass, infrastructure, construction wastewater ponds, salty retention ponds from road transportation deicing operations, produced water from formations, process or disposal water from energy and environmental industrial operations to name a few.
This lab is equipped to conduct a range of chemical and environmental testing, allowing partner companies to cost-effectively test water, fluids, and solids, or alternatively, partner with us to build, operate and test new water treatment technologies, or access testing services for skid mounted or packaged water treatment or pilot desalination systems prior to commercialization.
- Water testing and drinking water treatment systems for indigenous and rural communities
- Testing oil and water separation with novel ceramic, PTFE, hybrid membrane filtration
- Investigating novel nano-materials and advanced membranes for durable water clean-up
- Researching blowdown water treatment for water recycling and minimizing the waste volume
- Produced water treatment, disposal of water treatment, and management solutions
- Producing clean water using novel NF, ED, RO, and low-cost, high-performance systems
- Prototyping emergency desalination skids from seawater to supply clean drinking water
The two Once Through Steam Generation Labs are each located at the Energy Resources Research Building as well as the University Research Centre Building in the University Research Park. The funding for this laboratory was made possible by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Alberta Government, and COSIA with additional contributions from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Industry Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC) program, and Alberta Innovates (AI). This unique OTSG Lab has two lab-scale OTSG test rigs which will test actual processed water from the regional oilsands facilities.
Top scientists and engineers from ConocoPhillips, an R&D facility in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, provided the intellectual property and innovative engineering for the design and build of the first-of-its-kind lab-scale OTSG #1&2 test rigs in Canada. Similarly, Suncor Energy and General Electric Global Research Centre, Niskayuna, New York, provided the intellectual property and innovative engineering for the design and build of the first-of-its-kind lab-scale OTSG#3 test rig in Canada.
These innovative test rigs along with the supporting applied-research infrastructure are being used by researchers, faculty, students, new graduates, and HQPs from SAIT, the University of Calgary, and the University of Alberta in collaboration with COSIA members, industry experts, and consultants. Collaborations include InnoTech Alberta, COSIA associate members, scholars, steam boiler experts, technology vendors, techno-entrepreneurs, and communities of practice. The outcome of the OTSG applied research is to find key solutions to critical operational and environmental challenges associated with steam generation for in-situ oilsands and rapidly assist the adoption of best-in-class practices.
- Investigating barriers and solutions to boiler tube fouling and tube failures
- Destructive tube testing, analysis of solid deposits using SEM/EDS and XRD
- Process testing of boiler feed water for in-situ steam and other thermal processes
- Developing design of experiments and test plans for pilot-scale test rigs
- Conducting analytical testing using FTIR, ICP-MS, GCs, ICs, TIC/TOC instruments
- Determining improvements to water recycling and GHG emission reduction efficiency
- Assessing energy efficiency and overall thermodynamic performance efficiency
Breakthrough vanadium energy storage system wins Mayor’s Innovation Challenge
As the demand for electrical energy increases, so does the need to find appropriate energy storage solutions. An innovative research project using a vanadium redox battery system could be an answer — and it’s one of the winners of the City of Calgary’s inaugural Mayor’s Innovation Challenge. Developed by the Centre for Energy Research in Clean Unconventional Technology Solutions (CERCUTS) — one of seven Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) research areas at SAIT — the ARIS Battery Storage project demonstrates the potential of a breakthrough technology to address issues related to renewable power intermittency, energy grid stabilization and climate resiliency.
The program, labs and related applied-research infrastructure will enable researchers to determine and solve the barriers to achieving clean-technology solutions. This includes:
- Partnering with industry and small-to-medium-sized enterprises in research on clean energy, clean power, clean water, combined heat and power technologies and energy efficiency, and unconventional and alternative energy solutions.
- Providing training and hands-on experiential education through applied research to the next generation of professionals in integrated unconventional and alternative energy technologies for the jobs of tomorrow.
- Transferring innovation and technological advancements to accelerate the commercialization of integrated unconventional and alternative energy technologies and facilitate rapid industry adoption.
- Access early-stage strategic applied research engagement for business development
- Explore proof of concept, leveraged investment and co-funding opportunities
- Engage in the development, design, build and operation of clean technology prototypes
- Achieve results of technology performance and solutions to technology limitations
- Embrace disruption in tech innovation through credible applied research services
- Avail technology verification and third-party validation services and enhance profitability
- Gain access to local, regional and global innovation networks and drive brand awareness
- Collaborate in education, workshops and outreach, inspire next-gen professionals