The answer to many questions is the application of technology

Technology and Diversification in Drayton Valley-Devon

Can you believe we made it all the way into 2020 already? I hope everyone had the opportunity to rest up this holiday season and enjoy the wonderful new year’s celebrations.

As the holidays come to an end, I want to discuss a topic that I have found myself continuously championing over the last few years; technological advancements and resource production in the constituency of Drayton Valley-Devon.

As an MLA in a resource rich constituency, I am asked time and time again what our government is doing to diversify the provincial economy and create future jobs. My answer and the solution to many questions regarding our resource industries is the application of technology.

As we know, Alberta is home to a world class oil and gas sector and as a result, host to some of the most rapidly developing technological industries and products in the world. Throughout the history of our province, we have seen highly advanced technology continue to grow and adjust in step with the needs of our economy and resources. In just the past 15 years we have witnessed a 25% reduction in carbon produced in Fort McMurray as Alberta engineers continue to make advances in the area of carbon capture. A new development by Safe Seal 360, a company based out of Drayton Valley, has created a valve that self-greases and has a fail-safe leak stopper for use in pipeline production. A second company, Cerulean Carbon Corp., has created a product that could completely change the way we respond to an oil spill.

This product is called HYDRO-C6H6 and is a combination of Synthetic Rubber and other ingredients that form a powder that absorbs oil. These components are essentially non-toxic, making them a safer and more affordable product for use in nature. Currently, it can cost multiple millions of dollars and an extended amount of time to clean up an oil spill. I visited an oil spill clean-up this past summer which cost over 3 million dollars for a relatively small spill that was discovered shortly after a pipe ruptured. This new technology, could have been applied to spill I visited and absorbed and eliminated the oil spill and its affects almost immediately. The long chain hydrocarbon molecules that make up Hydro-C surround and then encapsulate the undesired oil, making complete removal efficient and effective, even in water.

While many argue that we must immediately shut down natural resource production across our country to prevent damage to ecosystems and climate, I would contest that the changes needed to address many environmental concerns are already very much available or in development. New technologies and advancing science are demonstrating to us every single day that there are often modern solutions for the modern problems we face today. We produce in Alberta world class engineers out of the University of Alberta, who continue to apply their world class engineering skils and knowledge to the problems faced in our 21st Century Alberta economy. Alberta is currently home to hundreds of new and emerging technologies that will only help to advance our economic place in the world. So as we proceed into a new decade this knowledge reassures me that we can and should have hope in the economic future of Alberta.

Mark Smith is MLA for the Drayton Valley-Devon constituency and writes a regular column for The Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

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