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Women Leading Cutting Edge Environmental Solutions

By Ines Quandel


I have an interest in clean energy technology, including carbon capture. In a recent book club Zoom session we discussed incentivizing/monetizing carbon capture to make it an attractive industry. The idea being ‘what if the captured carbon became a resource rather than waste material’.


Shortly thereafter I came across articles on CBC News and LinkedIn about three Alberta women who have been researching emissions reduction, carbon capture, and carbon usage. All of these women have advanced degrees in STEM. Koleya Karringten runs a manufacturing company that produces low emission technology for the oil and gas industry as well as the aerospace sector. Sasha Wilson has just spoken to the US Congress about scaling up carbon capture. Mina Zarabian co-founded and is leading a company with innovative carbon usage technologies.


Emission Reduction Technology – creating innovative ways to reduce emissions construction, oil and gas, and aerospace


Koleya Karringten founded Absolute Combustion International (ACI) together with her father Darsell when she was only 21, and took on the role of CEO after her father passed away. They invented a greener, safer and more efficient combustion technology for use in the oil and gas industry and commercialized it. A few years ago ACI had an opportunity to diversify their technology to be used the aerospace sector thanks to a partnership with the Edmonton International Airport. The new technology allows planes to be heated faster, with less fuel, and lower emissions than existing products.


ACI’s Vision states that they are “committed to world leadership in greener, more sustainable combustion solutions that maximize value to our commercial clients. Our burners deliver the highest possible efficiency in heat transfer while keeping fuel consumption and emissions significantly lower than competitive products.” [http://absolutecombustion.com]


Carbon Capture Technology – championing the use of carbon capture technology on a national and global level to gain government support and funding


Sasha Wilson, Associate Professor in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at University of Alberta is part of a research team exploring the processes for trapping excess carbon dioxide in mineral waste. The mineral waste comes from mining operations and is used to trap carbon dioxide for thousands of years. Using mining waste to capture carbon makes the resources sector more environmentally and economically sustainable.

[https://www.ualberta.ca/science/news/2019/july/carbon-capture-mine-waste.html]


Last year in December she presented her expertise in front of U.S. policy-makers, recommending that the U.S. scale up research and development of mineral carbonation.


[https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/u-of-a-researcher-pitches-mineral-carbonation-as-solution-to-climate-change-to-u-s-policy-makers-1.5942956]


This is just one method for carbon capture being tested in Alberta. The next phase is to scale up capture technologies and processes to make them economically viable and allow for commercialization.



Carbon Usage – inventing ways to turn captured carbon into a resource rather than just a waste material to be stored.


Carbonova Technology was co-Founded by Mina Zarabian, CEO and Pedro Pereira Almao, CTO. Together they discovered a process that turns captured CO2 into carbon nanofibers. These nanofibers have many qualities, including being lighter and stronger than steel, which makes it a great source material in various industries.


Mina has a Ph.D in Chemical Engineering, her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are in Materials Science and Engineering. Her LinkedIn profile states “My decade of research experience in chemistry, catalysis, and materials engineering coupled with a passion to diversity the economy through clean technologies guided me toward co-founding Carbonova.” [LinkedIn – Mina Zarabian]


The company website proclaims “Our unique process is not only able to transform carbon dioxide but also methane – which is 30 time more impactful in global warming. With over 140 billion cubic meters flared into the atmosphere annually, capturing methane into carbon nanofibers opens up doors to further recycle greenhouse gases from landfills, biomass, and natural gas reservoirs with high carbon dioxide content.” [https://www.carbonova.com] This is cutting edge technology, homegrown in Calgary.


These three women trailblazers and amazing roles models for our children. Each of them is a leader in her field in research and innovation. They discovered new expertise, are creating new technologies, and establishing new economic opportunities for Alberta. All while focused on addressing the fundamental environmental issue of our times. They are setting trends that all of us should be excited to support.



Photo by Martin Shreder on Unsplash

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