Key strengths

Energy

New solutions and a cleaner, more sustainable future

The university has been helping drive energy research, discovery and innovation since the 1920s when Karl Clark discovered a way to liberate the oil locked in Alberta’s oilsands. Today, we are home to Canada’s largest group of energy researchers.

Canada’s largest energy research group
Our expertise, capacity and capability is sought by provincial, national and international companies, governments and universities research organizations seeking energy solutions and collaborations. While many our research driven innovations, technologies, policies and processes are used by the Canadian and international energy sector. 

More than just fossil fuels
Our world runs on energy, and lots of it—mainly fossil fuels, that are supported by complex systems (e.g., infrastructure, transport, socio-economics). The world’s energy needs increasing and we are facing significant energy related challenges—climate change being one of the biggest. Therefore, energy research and innovation must be more than just improving fossil fuels and their resource extraction and processing. It must encompasses multiple directly related areas, including:

  • New energy sources—and how to integrate them into an energy system that was not designed for them. How these new technologies can impact our society, economy, environment.

  • Infrastructure + systems— transportation, delivery, regulation, societal, political economic etc.  

  • Climate change + the environment—land use, water, pollution, agriculture and farming, biodiversity, climate change impacts (drought, floods, food security and production, migration, displacement, and political and socio-economic pressures).

  • Health—fossil fuels have been linked to poor air quality, pollution, toxic chemicals, respiratory issues/diseases, cancer, hormone disruption, and heart and brain disorders and disease.   

  • Complex systematic change: How will we actually transition to a low carbon future? What happens to fossil fuel related jobs? Political, societal and economic implications? How will unmanned transport change things? What about the things we rely on (plastic, cosmetics, children’s toys, cell phones, medical equipment, asphalt, shampoo, concrete, steel, toothpaste, pharmaceuticals, nylon/polyester fabrics, fertilizer to name but a few)—fossil fuels are used to make them too.

Multi-dimensional expertise
Our energy expertise, capacity and capability spans 200+ researchers and 11 faculties, is supported by some of the best research facilities and infrastructure, and has driven the creation of six energy spinoffs. This strength is illustrated by extensive energy collaborations with both industry and government partners, including key energy players Germany, China and Mexico.

We work in both conventional and renewable energy, with expertise that includes energy development and distribution and transportation, climate change and health. Work that is facilitated by extensive strength in engineering, material sciences, chemistry, clean tech (fuel cells, biomass), artificial intelligence, nanoscience, ICT, remote sensing, earth sciences, health and life sciences, and the social sciences and humanities—who address the complex interplay of social, cultural, economic, legal and environmental factors.

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