Energy Systems

Producing the Innovations that Sustain Our Communities

Energy is more than just fuel―it involves large and complex systems incorporating society and the environment. These systems must meet society's expectations of type, quality, quantity, reliability, and accessibility within a diverse cultural framework of urban centers, Indigenous nations, smaller communities, and rural regions. They must operate in an environmentally sustainable manner with appropriate reclamation and management.

The University of Alberta's energy expertise, capacity and capability involves more than 500 researchers across 18 faculties. We are a leading hub of a provincial, national―and increasingly international― scholars who are working with robust and emerging industry partners, government organizations, and academic experts from fellow universities to assemble energy-focused collaborations.

Energy Systems brings together the U of A's exceptional, well-established, and interdisciplinary strengths to create a collective to lead local and global communities through the conversion to a lower carbon world. Together we're tackling the transition of technologies and the evolution of cultural expectations around local and global energy challenges.

Programs and projects like the Land Reclamation International Graduate School, Petrocultures, Future Energy Systems, and the Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment, all contribute to the Energy Systems interdisciplinary network by continuing to investigate and champion the development of energy focused research and teaching.

Positioned to Lead

Energy Systems at the University of Alberta

The University of Alberta is among the world's top 10 producers of energy systems research, and is home to Canada's largest energy systems research and teaching network. Building on U of A's century long history in energy and environment research and teaching, we aim to spark new ways of thinking about energy systems, while leading the international, collaborations and partnerships that will inspire and inform the global community's energy transitions. Our geography, history, and skilled talent place the U of A at the nexus of the global energy conversation.

Using Our Experience and Excellence

Energy Systems

1908: The U of A is founded, including 5 engineering students who study under the Faculty of Applied Sciences.

1926: The U of A's Karl Clark starts the first energy-focused research on bitumen and hot water separation. Learn More

1966: The Petroleum Recovery Institute (PRI) is established with the help of the U of A Dean of Engineering, Dr. R.M. Hardy Learn More

1983: The co-op learning program is introduced in the Faculty of Engineering, blending real-world experience with academic learning in classroom and labs.

1999: The Nanofabrication and Characterization Facility (nanoFAB) is established at the University of Alberta. Learn More

2000: Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment is created in the Alberta School of Business. Learn More

2003: The Charles R. Stelck Chair in Petroleum Geology is created to recognize the discovery and development of oil and gas reservoirs in western Canada. Learn More

2011: Energy conversations broaden with the launch of both Petrocultures and the Land Reclamation International Graduate School.

2016: The U of A's leadership in energy is recognized with a federal investment of $75 million for Future Energy Systems. Learn More

Together We Are Engaged in this Global Challenge

Energy Systems

Energy research today must encompass a full-range of approaches, from the sustainable development of both fossil fuels and renewables, to understanding and measuring climate change and devising pollution controls, to reclaiming and improving land and water use and rethinking environmental law and policy, and more. With more than 500 experts from across 18 faculties, the U of A is applying an interdisciplinary lens to the study of energy systems.

Motivated to Excel

Humanity's demand for energy is insatiable, growing at an exponential rate. The challenges can mistakenly appear as simply scientific, engineering, and technology problems to be solved, but our energy supply and use is part of a grand and complex system. This system must meet society's expectations in terms of type, quality, quantity, reliability, and accessibility of energy within a diverse cultural framework of large and small urban centers, Indigenous communities, and rural regions.

This is why the energy research of today must encompass a full-range of expert perspectives. From the sustainable development of both fossil fuels and renewables, to understanding and measuring climate change while devising cost effective pollution controls, the study of energy must be able to account for the reclamation of land and the improvement of water use. Given the impact that energy use has on our daily lives, it's imperative that our researchers are also exploring the societal changes that accompany and shape the types of energy transitions that are happening around us.