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

    EDMONTON, Oct. 9 /CNW/ - 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
    "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
    "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.

For further information:

For further information: Media inquiries may be directed to: Donna
Babchishin, Communications Director, Advanced Education and Technology,
(office) (780) 422-1562, (cell) (780) 619-9523 (To call toll-free within
Alberta dial 310-0000.); Kim Warburton, GE Canada, (office) (905) 858-5687,
(cell) (416) 561-8316; Val Mellesmoen, Alberta Water Research Institute,
(office/cell) (780) 235-2536

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