Canada is at a crossroads. It must move to a new, low-carbon energy future as part of meeting the nation’s climate change goals. To do so will require much greater collaboration and coordination between researchers, industry, government, and Indigenous nations.

The Canadian Energy Transition Hub (CETH) at the U of R will serve as a focal point in creating the alliances we need to foster collaboration, and will be at the forefront of research, application, and expansion of low-carbon energy.

If you are in the energy industry and have an energy transition-related problem to solve or opportunity to pursue, the CETH can connect you to:

  • Researchers with expertise across a wide spectrum of disciplines
  • Research infrastructure at the laboratory, pilot, and demonstration scale

The CETH operates on a project-by-project basis to ensure focused, results-driven outcomes. We can help you work with granting agencies to supplement project funding – multiplying the impact of your investment by as much as 3x what is committed. The transition to a low-carbon energy future is fundamental to the U of R. The CETH and its objectives directly align with multiple strategic areas of focus at the U of R, including:

  • Development and dissemination of new knowledge through discovery
  • Commitment to climate action through development and research initiatives
  • Achieving positive environmental and economic impact through reciprocal relationships with our communities

The research enterprise at the U of R is in a growth phase. We are highly motivated to extend our reach with our collaborations and grow our impact with our communities. Our medium-sized institution is ideal for interdisciplinary research. Our natural scientists, engineers, and social scientists know and work with each other. This means that diverse experts from multiple areas can be brought together to collaborate on your project.

Areas of Focus

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS)

Earning international acclaim under the leadership of SaskPower Clean Energy Research Chair Dr. Raphael Idem, the team at CETRI (formerly International Test Centre for CO2 Capture) has performed pioneering work at SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Carbon Capture and Storage Project, including a breakthrough amine-based catalyst-aided technology that reduces the energy penalty from CCUS.

The U of R will continue to leverage our unique array of CCUS infrastructure, including laboratory scale, pilot scale, and demonstration-scale infrastructure, to develop and demonstrate carbon capture technology efficacy in various industries, for example in oil-sands operations or in combination with biomass (BECCS) or fossil fuel electrical generation (FECCS).

With partners connected by CETH, the U of R’s investigations will enhance processes for CO2 utilization, developing smart approaches for utilization and storage in industrial products such as concrete, and assist industries that support coal, oil, and gas resources meet GHG emissions targets. Further, it will progress the sustainable production of synthetic liquid fuels from biomass, natural gas, and organic wastes.

Feature - Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage

Nuclear Energy

With $1.1M in funding from the Sylvia Fedoruk Centre for Nuclear Innovation (Fedoruk Centre), an academic team led by Dr. Esam Hussein, Dean of Engineering and Applied Science at the U of R is investigating possible sites for reactor development. Also funded by the Fedoruk Centre, Dr. Margot Hurlbert is conducting deliberative engagement research with citizens across Saskatchewan. This research is focused on exploring a sustainable zero carbon energy future and developing pathways to attain it.

The U of R will develop infrastructure to explore the safe use of nuclear energy and advance the development of small modular reactor (SMR) technologies. It will build on its experience in building test loops to assess design improvements and new components, as well as in industrial conditions.

Since CETH brings expertise in a variety of energy approaches, it can examine the integration of SMRs, or microreactors, with other energy approaches. For example, by retrofitting existing infrastructure to repower coal-burning power plants, or by examining how enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and CCUS can benefit from thermal energy produced by SMRs.

The U of R also intends to increase capacity through new research chairs focused on developing and using a test loop — a system in which simulated fuel enables investigators to examine the behaviour of SMRs under challenging conditions, thereby demonstrating their safety and capability. This research will have a material impact on building the knowledge necessary for the licensing and evolution of safe, effective SMRs.

Feature - Nuclear Energy

Hydrogen Energy

U of R’s CETRI has been working in hydrogen production research for over two decades. During this time, it has developed catalytic processes for its production from various feedstocks using multiple technologies, including: dry reforming, autothermal reforming, partial oxidation, steam reforming, combined dry reforming with partial oxidation reforming, and gasification.

It earned acclaim for the development of a new catalyst that can work with a diverse range of feedstock (pulp and paper waste, glycerol by-products, municipal and agricultural wastes), allowing a single plant to utilize different types of feedstock without disrupting operations.

Converging these technologies with its on-campus $2.7M hydrogen pilot plant, the U of R is well-positioned to accelerate catalyst-aided, feed-flexible, process-flexible hydrogen technologies. Catalyst systems developed by our researchers represent a remarkable breakthrough in hydrogen production, carbon capture, and energy from waste processes. This is a remarkable step forward in enabling hydrogen to become a primary fuel in parts of the world where generating hydrogen from water through electrolysis is not feasible.

Feature - Hydrogen Energy

Renewable Energy

In 2018, Regina City Council unanimously voted in favour of using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050. U of R research shows there is strong public support for renewable energy development in the City of Regina.

Furthermore, Saskatchewan’s climate is ideal for solar and wind energy generation, and stakeholders can test electrical generation, distribution, and storage equipment in extreme conditions over long periods of time and then deploy those technologies anywhere in the world.

Feature - Renewable Energy

Smart Microgrids

Integration of renewable energy sources on the grid will require advanced learning in microgrids and smart grid technologies. The U of R intends to develop a microgrid on campus to integrate planned nuclear, biomass, CCUS, geothermal, and other renewable power generation pilot facilities.

With relatively contained electrical, thermal, communications, and control systems, U of R is an ideal site to employ systems-based expertise to assess and optimize distributed power generation and storage. Partners can collectively advance system technologies that contribute to grid stability and resilience, especially for microgrid islanding and with expertise from Electronic Systems faculty, implement necessary complementary technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.

Feature - Smart Microgrids

Energy Storage

U of R researchers aim to identify viable energy storage solutions that meet the varying needs of its energy stakeholders, including battery storage and geological storage in salt caverns. Working with industry, researchers will design energy storage technology to meet systems requirements (e.g. capacity, responding time, efficiency) and increase effectiveness (demand changes, energy loss, recharge time). Furthermore, with the installation of battery storage systems, the campus itself can provide an ideal test-bed.

Feature - Energy Storage

Geothermal Energy

The desire to reduce our carbon footprint has sparked a renewed interest in geothermal energy to provide reliable, base-load heating that is available on demand, has no storage requirements, and no direct emission of greenhouse gases. This energy source can integrate into existing heating infrastructure and be immediately operational. U of R’s GeothURmal Working Group aims to revitalize an existing geothermal well on campus to serve as a living lab for research and training.

The U of R will coalesce and augment relevant expertise in aquifer management and geothermal systems engineering. Initially, it will establish the feasibility of low-temperature, shallow aquifer geothermal energy as a district heating source, and use this as a basis to develop models for other municipalities. With multi-sectoral partners, The U of R will directly address key utilization challenges such as corrosion and upgrading of low-temperature heat.

Feature - Geothermal Energy