This news release originally appeared on the Government of Saskatchewan website.
Today, multiple Saskatchewan organizations signed letters of intent (LOI) with Khalifa University of Science and Technology to jointly explore collaborative projects. Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) signed an LOI related to the operation and industrial applications of microreactor technology. The University of Regina and the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC) also signed an LOI with Khalifa University to move forward a shared commitment to sustainable energy research.
“Today’s announcement is an exciting step toward further innovations and collaboration for sustainable energy, Saskatchewan is the global leader in the development of clean energy and uranium mining,” Premier Scott Moe said. “This is exactly the kind of collaboration we need to create more jobs and opportunities for the people of our province. I look forward to what’s sure to be fruitful partnerships between the province of Saskatchewan and Khalifa University.”
The LOI with SRC lays the framework for a collaborative and strategic approach to cooperation through various key components including sharing knowledge on microreactors and identifying potential industrial applications for microreactors.
In November 2023, the Government of Saskatchewan announced $80 million in funding for SRC to pursue licensing and commercial demonstration of an eVinci™ microreactor. SRC will apply the research and knowledge gained from the deployment of the microreactor to better understand the technology and help pave the way for future microreactor projects.
Khalifa University's Nuclear Engineering academic program and its Emirates Nuclear Technology Center have made significant contributions to the implementation and operation of the UAE's sustainable energy research.
“With SRC leading the first commercial deployment of an eVinci™ in Canada, there is tremendous interest in how this microreactor could be used in industrial applications and how it could help achieve clean energy goals,” SRC President and CEO Mike Crabtree said. “We are excited to collaborate with others who also see the tremendous potential that microreactors can bring to their country.”
The LOI with the University of Regina and PTRC covers a commitment to promoting educational and research collaboration for clean energy technologies, including carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). This partnership moves forward the possibility of reaching net-zero by 2050, a mutual goal for both Saskatchewan and the United Arab Emirates.
“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Khalifa University, an internationally top-ranked research-intensive university,” University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Jeff Keshen said. “Through this partnership, we will enhance our global educational and research collaborations, leading to positive benefits for faculty, researchers, and students, which in turn, creates opportunities within our province.”
Khalifa University’s Petroleum Engineering department ranks 8th in the world by the 2023 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject. The Research and Innovation Center on C02 and Hydrogen (RICH) at Khalifa University’s Petroleum Institute already leads in developing novel materials and technologies for CCUS, as well as H2 production, transportation and utilization, and sustainable fuels, as key enabling technologies for energy transition.
“We are excited to enter into these agreements with the Saskatchewan Research Council, and University of Regina and the Petroleum Technology Research Centre at the Canadian province, to drive solutions in CCUS,” Khalifa University Senior Vice-President, Research and Development and Professor of Practice, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Dr. Steve Griffiths said. "Remaining at the forefront of technology innovation, Khalifa University is aligned with UAE’s commitment to a responsible energy transition and the country’s efforts to find balanced and inclusive solutions to the joint challenges of energy availability and climate change. We believe these partnerships reflect the importance attached to sustainable energy research, as well as the capture, utilization and storage of carbon dioxide as a key element of sustainability to yield positive solutions and mitigate global climate change.”
The letter also promotes joint educational activities, including faculty and student exchange programs and internships. This exchange of shared knowledge ensures both universities can create opportunities for their students and faculties alike.
The PTRC is a not-for-profit organization. They use public and private sector funding to conduct research and development and demonstration projects that increase the production of subsurface energy, while also lessening its environmental impact. This includes reducing CO2 emissions through carbon capture and storage, like the Aquistore project, which has 570,000 tonnes of CO2 stored underground, and CO2-enhanced oil recovery. PTRC’s awareness of the deep subsurface has also led to new projects including geothermal heating in Regina and Estevan. The letter of intent with Khalifa University will allow both regions to share knowledge about subsurface energy production.
“The Aquistore deep saline CO2 storage project is the largest field site in the world for testing new measurement and monitoring technologies to assure the safe storage of carbon dioxide,” PTRC CEO Ran Narayanasamy said. “What we’ve learned from the reservoir has also helped inform new work in geothermal energy and EOR. We expect to leverage this knowledge with UAE researchers and students.”
These announcements were made at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi during the COP28 mission. Saskatchewan’s office in Dubai has been working closely with officials in the UAE to strengthen its economic and trading relationship.