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E30: How is the DICE program helping Canada’s energy industry?

Updated: May 10, 2023

Ask AI check-in with Bruce Duong, Senior Manager, DICE program

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Check out the first episode in our new "Team Check-Ins" where host Carolyne Pelletier drops in on some of the most advanced teams working in Artificial Intelligence today. In this first show, she speaks with Bruce Duong from the Digital Innovation in Clean Energy (DICE) team at Alberta Innovates to ask: How will the DICE program help Canada’s energy industry?

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"The funding call for the second round of DICE has opened and the project proposal submissions are due by December 22nd at 3:00 PM. Mountain" - Bruce Duong, Senior Manager, DICE program

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Episode credits

Sponsors: Microsoft Canada's Free AI Business School and Cinchy, the Dataware platform that eliminates integration Chatbot partner: Ada Support Series Producer: Chris McLellan Episode Host: Carolyne Pelletier Series Editor: James Fajardo Original music: Mike LeTourneau

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Episode transcript

Please note: this transcript was generated by an artificial intelligence and some typos are invevitable:

Carolyne: Hi, this is Carolyn Pelletier your host for the ask AI team. Check-ins. So we were really intrigued when we heard that Alberta innovates announced a new round of funding under its digital innovation and clean energy program to fund the development of AI/ML amongst other sectors for use in Canada's energy industry.

And today we have Bruce from Alberta innovates. Who's going to talk about the DICE program and how you can apply for funding. Stay tuned. Hi, Bruce. Thank you so much for joining us here today at the ask AI team. Check-in please tell us about yourself and Alberta in the base.

Bruce: Great. Thanks for having me on today. My name is Bruce . I am senior manager of our digital technologies portfolio here at Alberta innovates in our clean resources group.

For those who aren't familiar with Alberta innovates and the oper innovation ecosystem, Alberta innovates funds research and investments into a number of different technologies, mostly to benefit the province of Alberta. In this case, we're looking at investing in digital technologies, particularly in the data enabled innovation space, as well as the digital technologies for business transformation.

So what the goal of these different investments certainly towards goals in the sense of reducing emissions, reductions environmental benefits, creating new products, as well as developing HTP and and passing in Alberta. In that sense for this particular program that we're discussing today, which is the digital innovation and clean energy program, looking for opportunities to support and collaborate with small and medium enterprises, innovators, entrepreneurs, as well as connecting them with end-users to commercialize the technologies that they're developing.

Carolyne: Great. Thank you. And I'd love to hear more about the program you're talking about today.

Bruce: Yeah. So what I wanted to talk about today was the digital innovation and clean energy program, which is actually a relaunch of a program that we had started the first round of funding in 2020.

So this particular relaunch of the program is making available $2.5 million of funding. With an up to a maximum of $350,000 per project. That funding is intended to support upstate 50% of project costs with the balance of that funding being brought by private industry or SME or a separate investor to generate additional value from that cell innovate that yeah, that's investment from upper innovates in terms of the technologies that we're looking for.

Certainly everything, data acquisition to kind of full blown automation based on AI. But I think that there's some there's, there's some challenges and there's obviously a very wide range of what constitutes digital technology at this point, as well as maturity as well. What we're looking for is basically being able to demonstrate novel innovative technologies with those benefits solver that I mentioned before.

So as long as those outcomes are directed towards things like emissions, reductions generating value, as well as other environmental benefits, pretty much fair game for intake into the project or into the program. In terms of technology maturity, looking for things in the technology readiness level range between three to seven.

Certainly above conceptual proof of concepts and ideally looking towards getting towards a field pilot or a field trial with an end-user to create value. That's demonstrated some, that demonstrate some clear user poll with measurable benefits that brings us closer to commercialization.

Carolyne: Wonderful. And can you tell me a bit more about why this program matters? Like who does it benefit? And you talked, it was a relaunch of a previous program. Maybe you can expand on that a little bit.

Bruce: Yeah. Yeah. So it's really exciting for us to be able to relaunch this program as the first round of funding supported 17 projects with the project, with the investment of $3 million leveraged again with about $13 million of external funding for a total of $16 million of project value. So the projects ranged across different technologies, everything from again an examples in modeling and forecasting product transportation, industrial process control. And then on the side of side of electricity, power generation and forecasting and dispatch waterproof.

And even some applications in VR, AR as well as UAPs for beyond visual line of sight. So really exciting projects raging across the energy sector from oil and gas to power, as well as environmental services and kind of those auxiliary services as well. Maturity is actively at different stages and we don't want to restrict AI to, you know, very hardcore kind of research-based.

Yeah, the intention is to be able to have real demonstration deployments of both of both in-house technologies, as well as service providers that are working with a potential end users and to deploy those technologies that they're developing, as long as we're getting real costs, reductions, and value generation, creating jobs, economic opportunities, and again, allowing those technologies to be commercially deployed at scale, I'm certainly interested and excited to support more.

And definitely targeted towards SMEs that, that need help in reducing risk as well as convincing partners. And end-users that's to, to demonstrate the actual value and the intention is to be able to continue to support them through that such commercialization phase.

Carolyne: Cool. And do you want to talk about who's involved or anybody you'd like to shut out that's working on this project or partners, um, associated with DICE.

Bruce: Yeah, of course. And this is really building off a number of different operator based programs. For those in this, in this space, in this ecosystem are probably familiar with Alberta innovates continued support of Amy here in Edmonson beyond building PSI or post-secondary institution, the capacity.

There's an opportunity here to mobilize some of that expertise and mobilize some of that that knowledge into creating solutions that can be used in industrial. And for for generating real value in the problems. Some of the other groups here at Alberta Innovates through entrepreneurial investments and through different programs have been supporting technologies, kind of in and around the space.

But this is really an opportunity to focus on creating funding, creating a funding opportunity to really demonstrate technologies at a scale that makes. That de-risk, that, that de-risks it for end-users that brings it closer towards towards mobilizing that AI and ML knowledge here in here in Alberta.

For those that are also familiar with crim the clean resource innovation at work, they recently had a call for digital technologies as well. This is intended as kind of a partner partnership, where he wants to build that momentum. And if there are crushing ideas up there that may not have been successful in other funding competitions, we definitely want to support that with with additional funding available.

There's always more ideas out there than, than have funding. So this is definitely an opportunity to solve that.

Carolyne: Great in wrapping up here with the last question. What is next and how do people get in touch with your organization and yourself feel free to insert your, social links or anything like that?

Bruce: Yeah, for sure. So, as I mentioned, the funding call for the second round of DICE have opened and the project proposal submissions are due by December 22nd at 3:00 PM. Mountain. I hope that you're able to visit the Alberta innovates website and just search the digital innovation for clean energy program, which is DICE for shorts and the program guides, and be linked to our online submission portal.

There are, are, it should be pretty obvious and be processes straightforward. And it is an online submission. In terms of a call to action, we really do want to mobilize some of this funding and try to get these technologies out there creating value for end users and to be able to integrate them into their everyday operations, beyond the digital space or beyond this particular call, we're always looking for new and innovative technologies in this space and others.

So I would encourage you to reach out to myself or any questions, whether you have a potential product idea for this particular round of funding or in general, for ideas that you might have.

Carolyne: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Bruce, for joining us today. And this is Bruce with Alberta innovates. So, thank you so much to our guests, Bruce, for joining me on this ask AI team check-in to recap in all 2.5 million available from Alberta innovates with up to $350,000 available per project. If you're interested in learning more about the DICE program, check out the link that we've attached, you can see program details, the application process and important deadlines that are coming up.

Thanks for joining me. This is Carolyn Pelletier, you Ask AI team check-in host.

Until next time.

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