The increasing drive towards a low-carbon future is demanding that we look differently at the way we live, eat, commute, and transport goods.
Easy, convenient, and relatively affordable mobility is embedded in our lifestyle, which makes changes at scale challenging. This has opened the space for ideas across a range of innovation priorities, including 1) implementing new technologies and supporting cleaner fuels; 2) providing low-carbon mobility options; and 3) applying regulations such as market mechanisms to encourage shifts in consumer behaviours.
So how does low-carbon mobility translate into actual actions, especially given that 68% of world population is projected to live in urban areas by 20501? And, perhaps more importantly, what does this mean for Alberta and our future? In Alberta, there have been several organizations engaged in work that explore these questions. For example:
- The Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) at the University of Calgary researches Canada’s freight sector and suggests that in order to achieve the 2030 and 2050 commitments made in the 2015 Paris climate change accord, “transformative – even disruptive – changes are required in the fueling of freight transport in this country and across North America2.” CESAR believes that the future of freight in Alberta will depend heavily on the use of hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks3.
- WestJet is another organization looking at low-carbon mobility and recently launched the WestJet Aviation Biofuel Challenge along with Alberta Innovates. This challenge intends to use/develop existing or emerging technologies, using lower cost Alberta biomass, coupled with other complimentary efficient technologies, to scale-up Alberta’s capacity as a leader in the aviation biofuel industry.
- Earlier this year, a Calgary-based company, E3 Metals, announced that it had reached an important technical milestone that moves it one step closer to being able to extract lithium from oilfield brine. Lithium is an important component in electrical vehicles, and “petro-lithium” represents an innovative approach to leveraging Alberta’s traditional energy assets as the basis for continued strength in a low-carbon future.
These organizations are all part of the Energy Futures Lab (EFL) community. On November 20th, 2018 the EFL will convene an EFL Accelerator on Mobility in a Low Carbon Future in collaboration with Alberta Energy. This one-day workshop will examine Alberta’s positioning in relation to the movement of people and goods in a low-carbon future. EFL Accelerators explore unique opportunities with a select group of innovators from government, industry, civil society, and academia that can address challenges and prepare Alberta to thrive in the future.
If you would like to participate in the upcoming EFL Accelerator on Mobility in a Low-Carbon Future, please contact Pong Leung at email@example.com.
1UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs: https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html
Nagwan Al-Guneid, is the Communications Lead of the Energy Futures Lab
Pong Leung is a Principal of Travesia Partners and a Senior Associate with The Natural Step Canada. He is a member of the Energy Futures Lab Design Team