Calgary oil-sands executive joins U.S. cleantech long shot

William Roach, until recently the chief executive of Calgary-based oil sands investor UTS Energy, has joined Khosla-funded cleantech hopeful Calera, which has developed a way to turn CO2 and other industrial emissions into cement and other building products. Specifically, it takes CO2 and seawater and turns it into calcium carbonate, or limestone, which is used as a feedstock for cement. Calera claims its process is carbon negative, because it not only uses CO2 as a cement-making feedstock, it also offsets the CO2 that would otherwise be used during conventional cement-making.

It’s an interesting move for Roach, who led UTS until its major oil-sands asset — its 20-per-cent stake in the Fort Hills oil-sands mining project in northern Alberta — was sold to France’s Total SA for $1.5 billion.