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CCUS RD&D Capture Focus Area Applicant’s Guide

Energy Innovation Program

Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) Call

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Budget 2021 provided $319 million in funding over seven years for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) to advance the commercial viability of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies.

The CCUS front-end engineering and design (FEED) call under Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Energy Innovation Program (EIP) targeted FEED studies for large-scale CCUS facilities and selected projects for funding in April 2022.

This CCUS RD&D call will support a suite of focus areas, starting with the CCUS RD&D “Capture” focus area. Details on the future focus areas can be found in Appendix A.

2. Call overview

2.1 Background

Carbon capture technologies have been deployed and demonstrated at large scale at various sites in Canada, such as the Quest and Boundary Dam projects. However, CO2 capture technologies can account for a significant portion of the cost of deploying CCUS, and most of the current conventional capture technologies are suited for larger-emission sources. There is a need for RD&D of next-generation, novel CO2 capture technologies and processes that have clear advantages over the more mature versions of amine-based CO2 capture technologies in terms of cost and application to different emission sources, sizes, and CO2 concentrations. 

2.2 Expected outcomes

The CCUS RD&D Capture focus area aims to support the RD&D of next-generation CO2 capture technologies and processes that have the potential to significantly reduce capital and/or operating costs of capturing CO2 and increase applicability to different emission sources, sizes, and CO2 concentrations compared to commercially available, amine-based CO2 capture technologies.

This may be achieved through improvements in capture efficiency and/or total facility capture rate, process intensification and/or energy efficiency (i.e. reducing the energy per tonne of captured CO2), development of advanced low-cost materials and CO2 treatment technologies, reduction of waste and environmental impacts of capture technologies, etc.

As a part of the EIP, the Capture focus area under the CCUS RD&D call aims to advance clean energy and production technologies that will result in significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions to help Canada achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

3. Eligible applicants

The CCUS RD&D Capture focus area is open to:

  1. Legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including:
    1. For-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as electricity and gas utilities, electricity system operators, transmissions owners and operators, companies, industry associations, research associations, and standards organizations
    2. Indigenous organizations and groups
    3. Community groups
    4. Canadian academic institutions
  2. Provincial, territorial, regional, and municipal governments and their departments and agencies where applicable

It is expected that the entity that will sign a contribution agreement with NRCan will be the majority owner of any assets purchased in full or in part by funding provided by NRCan.

4. Eligible projects

The CCUS RD&D Capture focus area is open to projects that advance technologies that capture CO2 from industrial sources or advance negative emissions technologies that use solvents, sorbents, minerals, membranes, oxy-combustion, cryogenic separation, chemical looping, or other novel concepts. More specifically, the CCUS RD&D Capture focus area is open to the following eligible projects:

  1. CO2 capture process development (including novel cryogenic and hybrid processes)
  2. Materials development and CO2 capture chemistry (e.g. advances solvents, adsorbents, metal-organic frameworks, covalent organic frameworks, membrane materials, hybrids)
  3. Membrane-based separation technologies
  4. CO2 purification and treatment (including compression for the purpose of purification)
  5. Applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, or other computational methods for development of CO2 capture – materials and processes
  6. Design improvement to increase input flexibility (e.g. range of flue gas compositions) and operability (e.g. quicker start-ups, better energy integration)

Projects must be advancing early-stage and pre-commercial technologies between Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 2 and 7, with the potential for significant improvement in system cost and performance, rendering them ready for technology transfer, scale-up, and commercialization. TRL definitions can be found in Appendix B.

Projects that replicate operating commercial CCUS facilities as well as technologies or techniques that remove air contaminants (particulate matter, SOx, NOx, metals, etc.) from flue gas are ineligible. 

5. Eligible activities

The CCUS RD&D Capture focus area is open to R&D and demonstration projects that undertake the following eligible activities.

5.1 R&D Activities

  1. Development, assessment, testing and integration of novel and innovative equipment, software and methodologies, for example:
    1. Proof of concept of technologies where there is a significant technical risk, including field trials, bench-scale testing, pilot plants, and prototypes
    2. Analytical tools and modelling software
  2. Pre-demonstration field trials – limited duration tests designed to identify further R&D needs before a technology can proceed to a pre-commercialization demonstration with limited expectation of long-term operation
  3. Capacity building and training (where applicable)
  4. Assessments or characterization studies, including data compilations and syntheses, where there is a significant natural resources sectors-related knowledge gap

5.2 Demonstration

  1. The permanent (for the normal life of the equipment) installation of a pre-commercial technology with the intent that it continues to operate in its intended operational environment
  2. Permanent modification of existing processes, equipment, or systems to accommodate an innovative technology or process
  3. The permanent installation of equipment and/or infrastructure to support a demonstration or multiple demonstrations
  4. Associated costs for the engineering, design and permitting of a permanent installation as identified above, including engineering and design costs if supported or required as part of a demonstration
  5. Operation, performance testing, and analysis of pre-commercial equipment in its intended environment to assess performance of an innovation

6. Funding & support

6.1 Funding

The CCUS RD&D Capture focus area is open to R&D projects that request between $500,000 and $2,500,000 (comprising up to 75% of total project costs) and demonstration projects that request between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000 (comprising up to 50% of total project costs), both over a period of up to five years. The EIP provides non-repayable contributions for both types of projects. More details about funding and eligible expenditures can be found in the Innovation and Clean Growth Programs Terms and Conditions.

Type of Project Minimum Program Contributions Maximum Program Contributions Project Life
R&D
(up to 75% of total project costs)
$500,000 $2,500,000 Up to 5 years
Demonstration
(up to 50% of total project costs)
$1,000,000 $5,000,000 Up to 5 years

Eligible project expenditures can begin once the applicant has been notified in writing by NRCan that it has been selected for funding under the EIP.

6.2 Stacking limit

Prior to signing contribution agreements, on an annual basis, and upon project completion, applicants will be required to disclose all sources of funding on individual projects, including contributions from other federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal governments and industry sources.

Collaboration and leveraging are strongly encouraged for all program components, and these will be included among the selection criteria.

Stacking of funding (i.e. total government support for a project) will be supported to a maximum of 100% of eligible expenditures. Preference will be given to projects that leverage funding from non-government sources.

7. Application process and timelines

The CCUS RD&D Capture focus area has two phases.

7.1 Expression of interest phase

To apply to the CCUS RD&D Capture focus area, applicants must complete and submit their expression of interest (EOI) application via email to NRCan (EIP-CCUS.PIE-CUSC@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca) by 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 3, 2022. The EOI application template (fillable PDF format) can be downloaded from NRCan’s website. The eligibility criteria and the evaluated EOI questions are included in Appendix C of this applicant’s guide as reference.

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that they meet the eligibility criteria and that their EOI application is fully completed and successfully submitted by the deadline.

7.2 Full project proposal phase

Applicants who are invited to the full project proposal (FPP) phase will be notified by NRCan and will receive information on the FPP timelines and submission requirements.

Applicants must provide all mandatory information in order to be considered for funding. An invitation to the FPP phase does not represent a funding commitment from NRCan.

NRCan may request supplementary information at various points in the review process.

Energy Innovation Program (EIP) - application process
Text version

ENERGY INNOVATION PROGRAM
Application Process

PHASE 1 – EXPRESSION OF INTEREST (EOI)

  1. DETERMINE YOUR ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY
    Review the Applicant’s Guide
  2. COMPLETE AND SUBMIT EOI
    Download & complete fillable pdf EOI application; submit to EIP-CCUS.PIE-CUSC@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca
  3. EOI EVALUATION
    EOI review by technical expert panel
  4. EOI RESULTS
    Notification of EOI results; successful applicants invited to Full Project Proposal phase

PHASE 2 – FULL PROJECT PROPOSAL (FPP)
Invited Applicants Only

  1. REVIEW FPP GUIDE
  2. COMPLETE & SUBMIT PROPOSAL
    Prepare and submit FPP
  3. PROPOSAL EVALUATION
    Proposal review by technical expert panel
  4. PROJECT SELECTION
    Applicants to be notified of results

7.3 Due diligence assessment

All applicants selected for funding will undergo a due diligence assessment, which will include an evaluation of the project’s finances, technical risk, and team risk as well as legal and regulatory considerations. NRCan may request additional information to support the due diligence assessment.

Applicants undergoing due diligence will be notified whether their project passes the due diligence assessment. Applicants whose projects pass the due diligence assessment will be invited to work with NRCan to draft, sign, and execute a contribution agreement.

7.4 Contribution agreement

Any funding under this CCUS RD&D Capture focus area will be contingent upon the execution of a contribution agreement. Until a written contribution agreement is signed by both parties, no commitment or obligation exists on the part of NRCan to make a financial contribution to any project, including any expenditure incurred or paid prior to the signing of such contribution agreement.

More information on NRCan contribution agreements will be made available to successful applicants following notification of the proposal results.

7.5 Timelines

The following timelines are anticipated for the CCUS RD&D Capture focus area. NRCan, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to modify these anticipated timelines.

Application Process Dates
Open for EOI Applications July 7, 2022
Deadline for EOI Applications October 3, 2022
11:59 p.m. EDT
Notification of EOI Results Winter 2023 (TBD)
Deadline for FPP Submissions Spring 2023 (TBD)
Project Selection/Notification Spring/Summer 2023 (TBD)
Due Diligence Process Summer 2023 (TBD)
Negotiating and Signing of Contribution Agreements Summer/Fall 2023 (TBD)

7.6 Regulatory, reporting, and other requirements

7.6.1 Equity, diversity, and inclusion

NRCan recognizes the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce on the resilience of Canada’s economy and the benefit of Canadian society. To that end, NRCan is collecting voluntary, anonymous, and aggregate information on groups that have historically been underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and natural resources sectors to get a better understanding of the state of EDI in the CCUS sector. This information will be analyzed to inform future program development, help promote diversity and inclusion in the clean energy sector, and track progress on increasing workforce diversity.

As the sections on EDI are voluntary, responses will not impact applicants’ eligibility for the program. Any EDI information collected will not be evaluated or scored as part of their application.

7.6.2 Duty to consult

NRCan has a legal duty to consult with Indigenous groups when a contemplated Crown conduct, such as the provision of funding, may have adverse impacts on existing or potential Aboriginal or Treaty rights. Federal departments and agencies are responsible for understanding how and when an activity could have an adverse impact on Aboriginal or treaty rights, and consultation should occur prior to the federal government taking any action.

While applicants are not required to consult with Indigenous groups under the EIP as part of the application process, they will be required to report at the FPP phase if they have already conducted consultation or engagement activities in relation to the project proposal or as part of their ongoing operations or corporate commitments.

7.6.3 Impact Assessment Act

As per the Impact Assessment Act, NRCan is required to assess whether RD&D projects carried out, in whole or in part, on federal lands are likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. At the FPP phase, applicants will be asked to identify if the project will be carried out in whole or in part on federal lands. If so, an impact assessment may be required during due diligence for successful applicants.

7.6.4 Outcome reporting

After entering into a contribution agreement with NRCan, proponents of successfully funded projects will be required to report on a quarterly and yearly basis to ensure that targets and objectives are being met.

As some outcomes may only be realized after funding has ended, ongoing data collection and assessment will be required for a period of five years following the project’s completion date.

7.7 Information sharing permissions

During the application process, applicants will be asked whether they provide permission for NRCan to share their application with other relevant funding organizations. For projects that may not obtain funding under the program, this will allow the program to provide the opportunity for maximum exposure and guidance across other federal funding programs or providers.

7.7.1 The Clean Growth Hub

The Clean Growth Hub is a whole-of-government focal point for clean technology focused on supporting companies and projects, coordinating programs and tracking results. The Hub is an interdepartmental organization with member departments and agencies including: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Natural Resources Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada; Transport Canada; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Global Affairs Canada; the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada; the National Research Council; Business Development Bank of Canada; Export Development Canada; Sustainable Development Technology Canada; and Canadian Commercial Corporation.

Should you consent, the information you provide may be shared across federal departments/agencies, including but not limited to the departments and agencies represented in the Clean Growth Hub, with a view to assisting you in determining the federal programs/supports best suited to your needs. Pursuant to Paragraph 20(1) of the Access to Information Act, the Clean Growth Hub will not publicly disclose any information without permission.

7.7.2 Trusted Partners

To facilitate co-funding with provincial/territorial and industry funders, NRCan is working in collaboration with a network of other funding organizations across Canada. By giving NRCan the authority to share your proposal with our “Trusted Partners” (TP), you allow NRCan to explore possible co-funding opportunities, referrals, or follow-on funding opportunities. Please note that NRCan will only share these applications with TPs where NRCan has a non-disclosure agreement in place and for the purposes of referring proposals for funding consideration, or exploring the possibility of co-funding.

For more information and a list of the Program’s current Trusted Partners, please refer to the Innovation and Clean Growth Programs Terms and Conditions.

8. Contact information

For any questions regarding the CCUS RD&D Capture focus area or the CCUS RD&D call more broadly, please contact NRCan at: EIP-CCUS.PIE-CUSC@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca. During regular operations, NRCan will strive to respond within two business days.

Appendix A – Future Focus Areas

NRCan is planning future focus areas under the CCUS RD&D call. These focus areas are anticipated to have the following scopes and intake dates:

Future Focus Areas & Scopes Intake Dates
STORAGE/SEQUESTRATION
To characterize and develop safe, permanent subsurface CO2 storage to support planning of cost-efficient storage opportunities across Canada
Fall 2022 (TBD)
UTILIZATION
To expand the strategic uses of CO2 and support the development of cost and energy-efficient utilization pathways
Winter 2023 (TBD)

Appendix B – Technology Readiness Levels

Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is a measure used to assess the maturity of evolving technologies (devices, materials, components, software, work processes, etc.) during its development and in some cases during early operations. Generally speaking, when a new technology is first invented or conceptualized, it is not suitable for immediate application. Instead, new technologies are usually subjected to experimentation, refinement, and increasingly realistic testing. Once the technology is sufficiently proven, it can be incorporated into a system/subsystem.

The lowest level, TRL 1, indicates that information already learned from basic scientific research is taking its first step from an idea to a practical application of a lesson learned. For example, after learning that hydrogen and oxygen can be combined to generate electricity, some would suggest an idea for building a machine to do just that.

A technology that has achieved TRL 9 is one that has been incorporated fully into a larger system. It has been proven to work smoothly and is considered operational. An example of an operational TRL 9 technology is the fuel cells which combine hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity for NASA’s space shuttle.

  1. R&D not specifically intended for technology development (but could be in support of technology adoption). Examples are knowledge generation to support codes, regulations and standards needed to support domestic adoption and to support Canada’s position in opposing non-tariff export barriers. Also includes basic research conducted prior to applied research.
  2. Early-stage scientific research begins the translation to applied R&D at the lowest level of technology readiness. Basic scientific research begins to be translated into preparatory applied research and development. Examples include paper studies of a technology’s basic properties, algorithms, and mathematical formulations.
  3. Technology development begins. Once basic principles are observed, development of practical and specific applications can be initiated. Applications are speculative and there may be no proof or detailed analysis to support the assumptions. Examples are limited to analytic studies, including concept development.
  4. Active R&D is initiated. Active research and development are initiated to establish proof of concept, including analytical and laboratory studies to physically validate analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology, i.e. individual components that are not yet integrated into the technology.
  5. Basic technological components are integrated to establish that the pieces will work together, i.e. initial operational characterization of technology. Standalone component prototypes are implemented and tested.
  6. System/subsystem prototypes are improved significantly. The basic technological components/prototypes are integrated within a reasonably realistic supporting environment so that the technology concept can be tested in a simulated environment. Examples include bench-scale laboratory integration of components and observation of operating characteristics.
  7. Model/prototype is tested in a relevant environment. A representative model or prototype system, which is well beyond that of TRL 5, is tested in a relevant test environment. This represents a major step up in a technology’s demonstrated readiness. Examples include testing a prototype at the pilot scale, integrated with existing systems, if applicable, in a laboratory environment or in a simulated operational environment. Engineering feasibility is demonstrated.
  8. Prototype near or at planned operational system. This represents a major step up from TRL 6, requiring demonstration of an actual system prototype in the intended operational environment. Examples include field-testing or field trials over a period sufficient to provide meaningful data on the performance of the technology.
  9. Technology is proven to work in a “real world” operating environment. Actual technology is completed and qualified through tests and demonstrations. This includes projects currently at the demonstration project stage.
  10. System proven through successful demonstration. Actual application of technology is in its final form: commercialization-ready technology proven through successful operations.

Appendix C – Capture Focus Area Eligibility and Evaluated Questions

EOI Eligibility

Sections Eligibility Criteria
Eligible Applicants The Capture focus area is open to the following eligible applicants:
  1. Legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including:
    1. For-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as electricity and gas utilities, electricity system operators, transmissions owners and operators, companies, industry associations, research associations, and standards organizations
    2. Indigenous organizations and groups
    3. Community groups
    4. Canadian academic institutions
  2. Provincial, territorial, regional, and municipal governments and their departments and agencies where applicable
Eligible Projects The Capture focus area is open to projects that advance technologies that capture CO2 from industrial sources or advance negative emissions technologies that use solvents, sorbents, minerals, membranes, oxy-combustion, cryogenic separation, chemical looping, or other novel concepts. More specifically, the Capture focus area is open to the following eligible projects:
  1. CO2 capture process development (including novel cryogenic and hybrid processes)
  2. Materials development and CO2 capture chemistry (e.g. advances solvents, adsorbents, metal-organic frameworks, covalent organic frameworks, membrane materials, hybrids)
  3. Membrane-based separation technologies
  4. CO2 purification and treatment (including compression for the purpose of purification)
  5. Applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, or other computational methods for development of CO2 capture – materials and processes
  6. Design improvement to increase input flexibility (e.g. range of flue gas compositions) and operability (e.g. quicker start-ups, better energy integration)
Projects must be advancing early stage and pre-commercial technologies between TRL 2 and 7, with the potential for significant improvement in system cost and performance, rendering them ready for tech transfer, scale up, and commercialization. TRL definitions can be found in Appendix B.

Projects that replicate operating commercial CCUS facilities, and technologies or techniques that remove air contaminants (particulate matter, SOx, NOx, metals, etc.) from flue gas are ineligible. 
Eligible Funding Amount For R&D projects, applicants can request up to 75% of total project costs (between $500,000 to $2,500,000) from NRCan over five years.

For demonstration projects, applicants can request up to 50% of total project costs (between $1,000,000 to $5,000,000) from NRCan over five years.
Stacking Limit Stacking of funding (i.e. total government support for a project) will be supported to a maximum of 100% for projects. Preference will be given to projects that leverage funding from non-government sources.

Evaluated EOI questions

Sections Evaluated Questions
Technology/Innovation

(30 points)
3,000 characters
Describe your technology/innovation, including:
  • How your technology/process works (include technical details and supporting evidence)
  • How your technology/process is innovative and novel
  • Its position as a next-generation capture technology/process, such as by having competitive advantages over or by addressing barriers/gaps/needs identified in current conventional capture projects. Be sure to highlight where it addressed the following criteria, as well as any other impacts you would like profile:
    • Potential to significantly reduce capital and/or operating costs of capturing CO2 compared to commercially available, amine-based CO2 capture technologies (include estimated cost reduction compared to benchmark technology applied to a similar CO2 source)
    • Potential to be applied to a broader range of emission sources, sizes, and CO2 concentrations
    • Potential to capture a higher fraction of emissions from a source
Project Implementation Plan

(15 points)
2,000 characters
Present your project plan, including:
  • Plan to advance your technology/process from the current TRL to the anticipated TRL at project completion
  • Scope, activities, deliverables, and schedule
  • Sources of funding adding up to the total project cost (include the funding requested from NRCan, and the role in it will play in advancing your project)
  • Key risks and mitigation strategies
Team/Partners

(10 points)
1,500 characters
Describe your team and partners, including:
  • Team structure, roles, and experience
  • Partners who are providing financial, technical, or other support (letters of support are not required, but will be considered as part of the evaluation), and their roles and engagement to date
Path to Scale/Target Market

(10 points)
2,000 characters
Present how your project will scale to achieve broader impact, including:
  • Path to scale/market, and how your project is situated within the broader strategy for technology transfer, scale-up, and/or commercialization  
  • Market potential (include information on target market/customer base/receptor community)
  • The next steps following this project to achieve scale (value proposition, business strategy, licencing, sales, capital attraction, etc.) identifying additional technical and non-technical barriers and how you plan to address them
  • Knowledge dissemination, such as by sharing information and knowledge that can support Canada’s CCUS/clean tech sector more broadly
IP Generation and Strategy

(5 points)
750 characters
Identify any intellectual property (IP) that will be generated through your project (check all that apply):
  • Patents
  • Trade Secrets
  • Copyright
  • Trademark
  • Other
  • None
Provide details on the IP that you selected (e.g. for patents, what type will be filed in which jurisdictions; for copyrighted research, in which journal will it be published), and your IP strategy (include how it will support your path to scale).
Social and Economic Benefits

(10 points)
2,000 characters
Describe your project’s social and economic benefits, including:
  • Direct benefits to local and Indigenous communities by creating opportunities for community development, employment, contracts, training, etc.
  • Contributions to Canadian prosperity, jobs, and competitiveness (include how your project builds on Canada’s strengths and competitiveness advantages, and how it targets Canada’s natural resource sector profiles and needs)
  • Contributions to the Canadian economy by developing IP, knowledge products, codes and standards, etc.
Environmental Benefits

(20 points)
2,000 characters
Estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions:
  GHG Impact in 2030 (Canada) (tCO2e/year) GHG Impact in 2050 (Canada)
(tCO2e/year)
GHG Impact in 2050 (Globally)
(tCO2e/year)
Impact of the technology/innovation at scale*      
Impact of the project once complete (demo projects only)**      
*total GHG emissions reductions if your technology/innovation/solution reaches scale as proposed.
**total GHG emissions reductions that might be achieved through the demonstration project as proposed once completed. If the demonstration will not continue to operate after a certain time period, ensure this is reflected accurately.

Support the stated GHG emissions reductions in the table above by providing relevant justification and explanation, and clearly outlining the assumptions that were made.

Describe how your project supports Canada’s GHG emissions reductions targets by 2030 and 2050 (reference: Net-Zero Emissions by 2050)

Describe the other environmental benefits (e.g. water, land use, waste reduction, air emissions impacts) of your project.
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