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Innovation, research and development are alive at Edmonton International Airport as a partnership with a local company has led to a breakthrough new product for airports and airlines.
Absolute Combustion International (ACI) and Edmonton International Airport (EIA) have successfully completed a three-year test to commercialize a faster and more efficient portable diesel aircraft heater. This heater significantly outperforms standard heating technologies on metrics ranging from fuel consumption and safety to extreme cold weather durability. The partnership between ACI and EIA reflects the airport’s commitment to supporting innovation and supporting Alberta’s technology sector, according to the co-founder and CEO of ACI.
“Our incredibly strong partnership with Edmonton International Airport, which worked with us every step of the way, and support from organizations like Alberta Innovates, have allowed ACI to make the challenging quantum leap from research to commercialization. This success is proof that Alberta has the infrastructure needed to help companies create technologies that will have an international impact,” said Koleya Karringten.
Designed to withstand northern winters, the ACI-SM1000 heater can operate at -50 C temperatures and bring the cabin of a Boeing 737 from -30 C to 20 C in half an hour. This is a major improvement over conventional systems which typically take over one and a half hours to accomplish the same task. The technology’s unique design results in a 50-70 per cent reduction in diesel fuel usage and requires no assistance from the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit to quickly heat the airplane on the tarmac.
This technology can be used beyond the aviation industry. The patented Absolute Extreme Burner (AEB) technology, has already been deployed in the oil and gas and recycling industries. The AEB is a near flameless, highly efficient burner that produces zero carbon monoxide, ultra-low Nitrogen Oxides and stable temperatures. The ACI-SM1000 is compliant with all aviation safety standards and is ready to be deployed this fall to airports across Canada.
EIA has made an initial order of three units, which are currently in production in ACI’s facility at Edmonton International Airport. During the three-year trial, the technology was developed from the conceptual stage to testing and final product design while working closely with EIA’s technical and operations staff. The project has had major benefits for EIA said vice-president of Operations and Infrastructure, Steve Maybee.
“Absolute Combustion International are widely recognized as game-changing innovators in the oil and gas industry, and we could not be happier to have them partner with us in the aviation industry as well,” said Maybee. “The result is we get locally-produced technology, custom made for our use that will be a ground-breaking improvement for aviation around the world.”
After the success of the initial tests, which took place in Alberta, ACI intends to bring the ACI-SM1000 heater to a wider market. Discussions are currently underway with airports, airlines and ground servicing companies to deploy the technology outside the province.
According to Alberta Innovates, which provided grant funding for the burners’ development since 2010, companies like ACI that are making the successful progression from early-stage development, to full commercialization, are exactly what Alberta’s economy needs.
“Alberta Combustion International is a great example of how our work with innovators is developing transformative technologies and generating economic impacts in the province, said Alberta Innovates CEO Laura Kilcrease. “By providing coaching, capital and community linkages, we’re enabling home grown entrepreneurs to build on Alberta’s existing strengths and identify new markets for growth. We’re delighted to recognize ACI’s success, to date, and to have played a part in their entrepreneurial journey from startup to scale.”