NSERC/Cenovus/Alberta Innovates Associate Industrial Research Chair in Energy and Environment Systems Engineering and Cenovus Energy Endowed Chair in Environmental Engineering

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NSERC/Cenovus/Alberta Innovates Associate Industrial Research Chair Program

This Chair program conducts research in the area of energy systems and their impacts on the environment, focussing on assessments of both renewable and non-renewable energy sources. While there has been considerable fundamental and applied research on the development of technologies for energy production, conversion, and use, systems-level research required to understand and evaluate their nexuses with the environment has received less attention. Currently, there is limited research in Canada on detailed energy-environmental systems assessments of these issues. Canada has a large energy sector with an energy hub in Alberta, and policy/decision makers and the industry they regulate need a detailed scientific knowledge base on which to formulate new energy-sector policies and predict environmental impacts. The NSERC Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Energy and Environmental Systems Engineering is aimed at providing this knowledge base.

The production, conversion, and use of energy, directly and indirectly, have environmental impacts. In recent years, the increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) has emerged as one of the most important environmental issues. Energy production, conversion, and use are also associated with fresh water consumption. As energy demand increases, water requirements to sustain this demand also increase.  Another key interaction the energy sector has with the environment is disturbances in land use patterns. Hence, energy production has a close nexus with air emissions (GHGs), water use, and land use changes. Canada’s large energy sector has to deal with these issues. These issues are critical for Alberta because of the intensity of activities that province. This Chair program assesses water and land use footprints in these areas.

This research initiative is a unique opportunity for a strategic relationship in energy and environmental systems engineering between academia, industry, and the province of Alberta, with the support of the federal government through the NSERC IRC Program. The outcomes of the Chair program will help make better choices on future energy systems for Canadians.