Collaboration & partnerships
To accelerate the development of technologies to help reduce our impacts on air, land and water resources, Cenovus collaborates with industry peers and actively partners with other industries, organizations, academic institutions, scientists and entrepreneurs to find innovative solutions and develop sustainability initiatives.
Acceleware is aiming to develop a technology that uses radio-frequency energy to extract heavy oil. If successful, it would replace the use of steam and as such, remove the natural gas combustion emissions from producing bitumen from SAGD. Cenovus invested in the technology in 2021 as part of our multi-prong approach to tackle our scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Alberta Innovates is a provincial government agency that provides support for early-stage technology developers. We have worked with Alberta Innovates on a number of projects including development of the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre for the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition and our pilot project to advance solvent-driven process, a steam-free alternative to SAGD production that could materially reduce emissions intensity
Cenovus, TC Energy and Alberta Innovates recently released a study on the feasibility of using small modular nuclear reactors (SMR) in SAGD operations. The study is an early first step to see if this promising technology can be part of our long term solutions to reducing emissions from our operations. While there is currently no project anticipated this study will start to frame the discussion of what is possible. Read the study here.
Avatar Innovations collaborates with large oil and gas firms, including Cenovus, to advocate for energy innovations by engaging staff and providing a safe “third space” for energy companies and academia to work together and explore new business opportunities. Avatar is also partnered with Elon Musk Carbon Removal XPRIZE.
Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance: COSIA is an alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance through collaborative action and innovation. To date, COSIA member companies have supported well over 1,000 clean technologies with $1.8 billion in funding.
Here are some of the projects we’re working on or have contributed to through COSIA:
Creative Destruction Lab
This is a partnership with the University of Calgary Creative Destruction Labs (Haskayne Business School). It progresses early-stage clean energy technologies in a “Dragon’s Den” style with the aim of putting the teams through “entrepreneur” school with high-quality mentors from industry.
Clean Resource Innovation Network: We are a member of CRIN, which applies technology and innovation to making the oil and gas industry more effective, efficient and carbon competitive.
For more information visit the CRIN competition page.
In 2016, we co-founded Evok Innovations, an investment partnership that accelerates the development and commercialization of environmental and economic solutions by connecting cleantech entrepreneurs with major customers and subject matter experts in industry, providing opportunities to pilot and demonstrate innovative technologies.
In 2022, we joined Evok Innovations’ second fund as a limited partner. The US$300 million Fund II includes significant participation by Export Development Canada, Royal Bank of Canada and The Toronto-Dominion Bank, alongside returning investors Suncor Energy and Cenovus Energy.
Combined, Cenovus has committed to providing Evok Innovations approximately $70 million over 12 years.
Since its launch in 2016, Evok has invested in clean technology companies working on everything from a light-weight boom for marine spill response, to an intelligent visual monitoring solution that reduces operational costs, emissions and safety risks, to a novel new process to generate industrial scale hydrogen from natural gas. For more information about all of the cleantech investments Evok has made to date, visit the Evok Innovations page.
General Fusion is aiming to develop the world’s first commercially viable nuclear fusion power plant. Cenovus has been an investor in the company since around 2014. Once commercial, fusion energy can be produced on-demand, and helium gas is the only by-product. 1 kg of fusion fuel can power 10,000 homes for one year and replace 55,000 barrels of oil, 6 million kgs of natural gas, or 10 million kgs of coal. Other notable investors include Bezos Expeditions (Jeff Bezos’s personal investment vehicle), BDC Capital and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, and several other venture funds.
We are a founding partner in the Pathways Alliance, with the goal of decarbonizing our oil sands production to reach net zero by 2050. The Pathways' vision is supported by multiple approaches – including carbon capture and storage, electrification, fuel substitution and energy efficiency, process improvements and emerging technology. Learn more about this initiative.
Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada: We are also a member of PTAC, collaborating on the research and development of technology solutions for industry challenges such as environmental stewardship, operational efficiencies and cost reduction.
Svante is recognized worldwide as a top contender in carbon capture technology. In 2015, Cenovus partnered with Svante, a Vancouver-based clean-tech startup company, to test its CO2 capture technology. The bench-scale trial was successful, demonstrating the technology could work in field conditions, and in 2019 a 10,000 tonne-per-year system was commissioned as the second phase of the project. The amount of CO2 the system captures in a year is equivalent to the emissions from about 2,000 passenger vehicles. Based on initial success, Cenovus took an ownership position in the company.
University of Calgary
We are partnered with the University of Calgary in a few capacities, including through the Haskayne Business School’s Creative Destruction Labs and on nanotechnology for various uses.