Accelerating energy transition solutions through the Avatar Program

August 2022 — Brad Taylor, Facilities Engineer-in-Training at Cenovus Energy, describes his participation in the Avatar Program as a crash course in innovation and entrepreneurship. The program is offered by Avatar Innovations in partnership with sponsors like Cenovus and is designed to accelerate the advancement of new decarbonization technologies by inviting teams of participants on a journey through the commercialization process.

“Bringing teams of strangers together and asking them to develop an actionable business proposal in just 12 weeks is the type of ask that unlocks vast potential,” says Brad. “The process has fast tracked my development in areas I did not think I would encounter until much later in my career and has given me the chance to play a role in our industry’s solution to decarbonization.”

Brad is one of 13 Cenovus employees who completed the first phase of the program, called Ignite, where teams had three months to work through different modules until they finally pitched their energy transition solution to a Shark Tank-style panel of investors. The best of those projects, including the proposal from Brad’s team, have been selected for the next step of the program, Accelerator, where innovations will be implemented and further tested.

“My team’s solution leverages recently published science that could make carbon capture more accessible for our remote sites by bringing the technology directly to the emissions sources without the need for carbon dioxide pipelines,” says Brad. “I feel very fortunate to be given this opportunity and am excited to see where we can take our idea.”

Seven other Cenovus employees are also on teams chosen for the Accelerator phase. Harsimran Singh, an Upstream Planning Analyst and Engineer-in-Training at Cenovus, explains how he hopes his team’s proposal will help lower the world’s carbon emissions. 

“Our solution brings voluntary carbon markets onto the blockchain — a digital system for recording information in a way that’s completely transparent and impossible to change,” explains Harsimran. “Quite often, companies do not know what their carbon credits are worth because the buying and selling takes place between brokers behind closed doors. This is especially true when it comes to nature-based solutions such as planting new forests. We believe that by creating a decentralized marketplace with clear price signals, we can unlock the large decarbonization and economic potential of this segment of solutions.

“There is a significant amount of work ahead of us as we progress our proposal and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish. This experience has forced me to think in ways I never have before and has given me a renewed sense of optimism around building a sustainable future.” 

Cenovus’s partnership with Avatar Innovations provides our employees with the opportunity to build their innovation skills and develop solutions that will help us advance our ambition to achieve net zero emissions from our operations by 2050. 

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