Professor’s NSERC research funding to help Canada go green

By Dale Johnson Posted: March 21, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Dr. Gordon Huang has received a Strategic Project Grant of $579,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to look into making a transition to clean energy.
Dr. Gordon Huang has received a Strategic Project Grant of $579,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to look into making a transition to clean energy. Photo courtesy of Dr. Gordon Huang, Facutly of Engineering and Applied Science

An engineering professor at the University of Regina is looking at ways of making a transition to a cleaner environment.

“Traditionally, we use fossil fuel as the main energy source, which leads to emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gas. Now, these emissions must be mitigated due to a variety of environmental concerns. A ‘clean-energy transition’ means a transition from the use of traditional fossil fuels to cleaner and renewable energy - with significantly reduced air pollutants and greenhouse gases,” explains Dr. Gordon Huang, a professor of Environmental Systems Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and Executive Director of the Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Communities.

For example, that could include such things as using more wind and solar power.

Huang has received federal research funding to look at ways to help government and industry make policy decisions on those changes.

“Through technology innovation, this transition may bring about a variety of opportunities for Canadian industries. When making such a transition, a number of difficult decisions may have to be made due to the involvement of many socio-economic and environmental factors. A good decision will help reduce a big amount of costs, while a not-so-good one may mean a number of consequences to the present and the future,” says Huang, a Canada Research Chair.

Huang has received a Strategic Project Grant of $579,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The goal of this federal program is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society and/or environment within the next 10 years. Research and training under these grants must be conducted through a partnership between academic researchers and industry or government organizations.

As noted by NSERC: “The grant will be used for supporting development of innovative technologies in the study field, and application of them to a number of Canadian cases.”  

The research team will be led by Huang and will include a number of researchers, post-doctoral fellows and students at the U of R.

“After their graduation, the trained students will fill a pressing need for environmental professionals in industrial, consulting, governmental and academic sectors,” says NSERC in a release.

Huang is hoping this research will be a benefit across Canada.

“It is anticipated that the proposed technologies can be transferred to a number of Canadian jurisdictions to generate more extensive impacts. Particularly, the developed methodologies can provide supports for addressing some of the most challenging problems associated with the clean-energy transition in Canada,” he says.