Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
Sept. 6, 2016
University of Calgary awarded $75-million research grant
Government of Canada funds transformative research initiative to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of unconventional hydrocarbon resources
The University of Calgary has been awarded $75 million over seven years from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) for its Global Research Initiative in Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources. The goal of this research is to dramatically reduce the impact of energy extraction and energy use on the environment. The funding is part of a $900-million research announcement made by the federal government Tuesday.
“The Canada First Research Excellence Fund will equip Canada to respond to some of the most pressing issues it will face in the future: brain health, sustainable food and water supplies, environmental concerns, and future energy supplies,” says the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science. “The research supported through this Fund will make the country stronger, and provide Canadians with an increased sense of optimism for the future.”
Leaders of the Global Research Initiative in Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources at the University of Calgary are pictured above, and include President Elizabeth Cannon, Vice-President (Research) Ed McCauley, and Steven Bryant, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Materials Engineering for Unconventional Oil Reservoirs with the Schulich School of Engineering.
Collaborating for a safer, cleaner, more secure energy future
“I want to thank the Government of Canada for continuing to support the University of Calgary’s transformative research to reduce the environmental impact of unconventional hydrocarbon resources,” says Elizabeth Cannon, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary. “Our world-class team of researchers and scholars, in collaboration with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and our many partners in Canada and around the world, is developing new ways to transition to a safer, cleaner, and more secure energy future. Calgary is Canada’s energy capital and a hub of clean energy technology and innovation. This funding will help guide our country into a new age of sustainable energy and prosperity.”
The Global Research Initiative seeks solutions to greatly reduce the environmental footprint of existing fossil fuel supply chains and takes the bold step of seeking innovative, fossil fuels-based energy systems that are low- or even zero-carbon.
Scholars seek ways to reduce environmental footprint of unconventional energy sources
“We need to transform the ways we get energy out of unconventional energy sources such as the oilsands, so that we can meet the near-term demand for petroleum but with a much smaller environmental footprint. At the same time we need to transform how we capture, store and convert CO2 — and ultimately go beyond managing CO2 to extract carbon-free energy from petroleum reservoirs — so that we can meet our long-term climate commitments at much lower cost,” says Steven Bryant, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Materials Engineering for Unconventional Oil Reservoirs with the Schulich School of Engineering. “I’m thankful that the Government of Canada recognizes the enormous potential for innovation in our team’s research in these critical areas and has helped provide the resources to find the answers Canadians have been demanding.”
CFREF is a legacy investment to help position Canada’s post-secondary institutions among the best in the world for talent and breakthrough discoveries, and to excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic benefits for Canada.
270 researchers drawn from disciplines across campus
The 270 researchers and scholars involved in the University of Calgary initiative are drawn from disciplines across the university. They will bring in postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and undergraduate students, providing a unique training experience for future leaders in the energy industry. This initiative will also involve a wide range of international partners in countries including China, Mexico and Israel.
“SAIT is thankful to the federal government for their support and commitment to innovative energy solutions,” says David Ross, SAIT president and CEO. “We are proud to be one of Canada’s top-ranked colleges in applied research and pleased to work with our University of Calgary and Innovate Calgary partners as we continue championing solution-focused research — making ideas a reality from prototyping and fabrication through to testing and analysis.”
Goals shared with University of Alberta researchers
The University of Calgary will work collaboratively with the University of Alberta, which was also awarded $75 million in CFREF funding for energy research, bringing a total investment of $150 million into the province. Both universities have a shared goal of moving towards a low-carbon, more energy-efficient future. The CFREF funding will enable the universities to mobilize their respective strengths in energy research and to collaborate on developing solutions for reducing environmental impacts and producing energy more efficiently for the benefit of Canada.