University of Alberta

Future Energy Systems

Canada’s hydrocarbon endowment has made energy a pillar of our economy, but environmental and societal imperatives compel us to develop new and sustainable approaches to producing, transporting and using energy.

The University of Alberta proposes to establish Future Energy Systems (FES) to develop a path to the responsible development and use of Canada’s multi-trillion-dollar energy resources, while facilitating a smooth transition to a lower-carbon energy economy.

FES will establish an integrated research program uniting University of Alberta researchers in engineering, sciences, social sciences, humanities, business and law. FES will concern itself both with:

  • finding solutions to the critical challenges of today’s energy system, which is vital to Canada’s current economy; and
  • developing technologies and practices that position Canada to thrive in a future, lower-carbon economy.

FES will directly address challenges for developing Canada’s unconventional hydrocarbon resources: tailings, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, land reclamation, and safe and efficient energy transportation. Its research program is aimed at ensuring that Canada benefits—in terms of jobs, revenue and reputation—from the continued responsible development of this natural resource. FES is also focused on the opportunities for Canada in the future, low-carbon economy.

By concentrating on the University of Alberta’s strengths, including advanced materials, smart electrical grids, and bioprocessing, the institute can accelerate Canada’s transition toward more renewable sources of energy. Embedding experts in the humanities, social sciences and law within FES is key to achieving the goal of developing new and sustainable energy systems in a just and equitable manner.

FES is the beginning of a comprehensive research enterprise, envisioned to continue long after Canada First Research Excellence Fund funding ends. FES will build a new energy future for Canada, propelling our country to world leadership in energy technology development and use.