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Posted: October 9, 2008

Multi-million dollar research agreement aims to improve water management and use in Alberta

(Nanowerk News) Sharing knowledge and testing innovative solutions to better manage Alberta's water resources are the foundation of a world-class research agreement between the Alberta Water Research Institute and GE Water & Process Technologies.
Two projects will begin immediately - a $15 million project focused on technology to improve the treatment and re-use of water in some oil sands operations, and a second initiative on the development of a world class educational program for business executives on advanced water management strategies.
"Exactly one year after the Alberta government signed on with GE, we are pleased to see the first two of many projects coming on-stream," said Doug Horner, Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. "Partnering our research and technology strengths with one of the world's most active international companies shows that Alberta's scale-up approach to innovation is working. From the spark of an idea through the many stages of development, Alberta is one of the best places in the world for industry to explore or market creative solutions to some of the global challenges, and water management is one of the key areas where we can contribute to a better world."
The water initiative will build on GE's proven design and operations experience and the broad portfolio of technologies already in use in the oil sands, including advanced membranes, thermal evaporation systems, mobile filtration units and water treatment chemistry. The initial investment in this project is $15 million, which will be cost-shared by GE, the Water Institute and its research funding partners. Any solutions and learnings from the project will be publicly available. The executive education program, to be launched in Alberta in 2009, will bring together global business leaders and some of the world's top water management talent to share case studies and best practices, which in turn could lead to improved environmental management strategies and practices around the world.
The two initiatives are the first of many projects under the research agreement focused on fulfilling the goals of the provincial water strategy, Water for Life.
"These innovative partnerships are a great example of how public agencies and industry can join forces to develop programs that benefit the environment and the economy," said Jeff Garwood, president and CEO of GE Water & Process Technologies. "GE has a long history in the oil sands and an impressive record of success in developing solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges under our ecomagination business strategy. Working collaboratively with the government and our numerous Alberta-based business partners, we are developing solutions that are at the forefront of sustainable water management."
"This agreement opens up some very exciting, world-class opportunities to create solutions to some of the complex challenges around water management both in Alberta, and around the globe," said Lorne Taylor, Chair of the Alberta Water Research Institute. "Through this agreement, we will have access to some of the best technologies, and best practices around water, and in return, GE will be able to both learn about and to establish innovative and leading-edge water management practices in Alberta."
This agreement builds on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed one year ago on October 10, 2007, between Alberta Advanced Education and Technology and GE to develop unique solutions to solve complex environmental challenges being faced in Alberta and across the globe. Over the next four years, the MOU identifies areas of mutual interest that may lead to additional projects. Potential areas for development include projects related to oil sands technologies, water management, energy management including gasification, biofuels and greenhouse gas emissions, nanotechnology, and healthcare technologies.
Source: CNW Group
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