Raphael Idem is energized by research

Posted: April 2, 2019 9:55 a.m.

Dr. Raphael Idem, engineering professor and the director of the Clean Energy Technologies Research Institute
Dr. Raphael Idem, engineering professor and the director of the Clean Energy Technologies Research Institute Photos: U of R Photography

Dr. Raphael Idem says his appointment as SaskPower Clean Energy Research Chair is the opportunity he has always dreamed of.

Idem, an engineering professor and the director of the Clean Energy Technologies Research Institute (CETRI), is a world leader in the study of generating energy from coal and natural gas with carbon capture.

“I have extensively studied energy from hydrogen and biomass, taking these technologies from the test-tube to the pilot plant stage,” he says.

Federal Minister of Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, with Dr. Raphael Idem.
Federal Minister of Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, discussing carbon capture and utilization with Dr. Raphael Idem.

Familiar with research on solar and wind power as well, Idem says that his role as SaskPower Clean Energy Research Chair provides him with the opportunity to bring forward his combined knowledge to inform stakeholders and provide advice on how to best answer future power needs.

“It is rewarding to be recognized for your hard work, and to be asked to take that work further.”

His first task will be to fine-tune technologies – including solar, wind, biomass, coal, natural gas, geothermal and hydrogen – to ensure they meet the maximum efficiency that is scientifically possible. Then it will be a matter of assessing economics and sustainability.

“The end goal will be to determine what energy mix is clean, affordable, and sustainable,” says Idem.

His research will involve undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral students. “Involving students is incredibly important for the creation of a trained workforce that will be available to put these technologies in place, now and in the future.”

Idem earned his bachelor’s degree in Engineering at the University of Benin and his master’s degree at Obafemi Awolowo University, both in Nigeria. He holds a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan. He worked in private industry before coming to the University of Regina in 1999 where he now teaches in both the Industrial Systems Engineering and the graduate-level Process Systems Engineering programs.

“I’ve had a very rewarding experience at the University of Regina, from the very first day until today,” he says. “I am excited to have the opportunity to finish what I started.”