3MT 2023 Finalist  Zak Kaal

Zak Kaal

2023 First Place Winner

2023 People's Choice Award Winner, Western Canadian Regionals

Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science, College of Natural and Applied Sciences

Green Skies Ahead: Sustainable Aviation Fuel from Waste

Introduce yourself…

I'm a second year Master's student with a passion for renewable energy and realistic sustainablility.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

My research focuses on developing a renewable aviation fuel stream using waste as the raw material.

How did presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help explain your research to the public?

The 3MT not only helped me condense my whole program into three minutes, it also helped me think about my research from the publics perspective. In sharing my research with people from outside the field, I learned how to tailor my explanations to different audiences.

What inspires you to do research?

Curiosity. Every question answered leads to several more questions. Kind of like the Hydra from Greek mythology.

What are three key words important to your 3MT?

Renewables, Jet Fuel, Waste

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities at large?

My research has a local impact in that Canada imports a lot of it's jet fuel. By developing a method for renewable jet fuel synthesis, we can boost Canada's capacity for renewables generation, while providing value to other sectors by utilizing their waste. Globally, many governments and organizations have set goals for reducing climate change impact of the aviation sector. The key driver of emissions for the aviation sector is the fuel they burn, so by providing a cleaner and renewable fuel, we can be one step closer to our targets.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why?

My parents, because they have always pushed.

3MT Image Description: Waste Transformed to Jet Fuel; different types of molecules.

Watch Zak's Three Minute Thesis