Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund

The Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund, thanks to Prairies Economic Development Canada, was implemented to provide Albertans aged 18-30 access to low-barrier financial support for projects or initiatives that help accelerate the transition to the energy system the future requires of us.

With $50,000 in total eligible grants, our goal with this program is to support projects initiated, led, and organized by young people. Selected by our Review Committee, we are extremely proud to share the winning applications below that received funding through this program.

What is a Just and Sustainable Energy Transition

Energy transition is about more than just reaching net-zero emissions targets. While enabling a low-emissions future is critical, we must also consider how people from across all demographics will fit into the new systems we’re working to create.

The Government of Canada defines just transition as an approach to economic, environmental and social policy that aims to create an equitable and prosperous future for workers and communities as the world builds a low-carbon economy.

Meanwhile, the EFL considers a sustainable transition to be one that aligns with The Four System Conditions of a Sustainable Society.

A just and sustainable energy transition, therefore, focuses on people, economy and climate.

What were the Criteria?

The Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund supported applications that met the following criteria:

  • The Lead Applicant is aged 18-30 years old at time of application. Teams/groups are encouraged to apply – just select one person as your Lead Applicant.
  • The project takes place in Alberta and/or engages Albertans and makes tangible steps towards a more just and sustainable energy system.
  • If the project is conducted or hosted by a formal organization, the project itself must be led and run by youth aged 18-30.
  • Applications must be completed and submitted through our application system before the stated deadline(s).
  • The funded activities can be completed (and reported on) before September 1, 2022.

Grant Recipients

Round 1 (Oct – Nov, 2021)

TREX-Ai

Our goal is to enable an AI-powered energy future. We have developed technology that allows to extract and fairly distribute significantly more value from distributed energy resources than currently existing approaches.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

As our vision of the company is taking an increasingly concrete shape, we need to rework our web presence. As a young startup, it is crucial for us to project a fitting ‘first click’ impression to potential hires, investors, clients, and other connections. With the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund grant, the founding team (Peter, Steven, and Daniel) will draft text, refine the text with the help of a professional copywriter, redesign the website and social media to adequately present the content with a professional web designer and social media expert. The goal is to tangibly increase search engine rankings, clickthrough rate, and clarity of content.

Learn more about TREX-Ai and the team at trex-ai.ca

University of Calgary Solar Car Team – 2022 American Solar Challenge

Our organization addresses the challenge of energy conservation by focusing on sustainable development, with an emphasis on solar energy. The team’s long term vision is to lead the community in the pursuit of sustainable technology that is efficient, innovative and inspirational. To achieve that goal, we design, build, and race practical solar cars that engage the public and encourage the growth of student leaders.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

The team is an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate students from various faculties including business, engineering, and science, who work together to achieve renewable innovation. Composed of two main teams, and six sub-teams, students learn to work collaboratively and communicate effectively within our fast-paced and creative setting.

One of the main purposes of the Solar Car Team is to educate the Albertan community about the feasibility of solar powered vehicles as sustainable means of transport. We strongly believe that people will drive that change, more specifically, the generations that will come after us. Therefore, we spend resources (in terms of time and expenses) to be able to attend various events and presentations at middle schools and high schools across Alberta and also provide training and experiential learning opportunities to the upcoming workforce of our province (University students).

Check out this video for more information on what this team is up to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xow7_XdIwIc

Captured Carbon Apparel

The joint project between Expedition Air and Savick will offer sweaters made from recycled materials and each purchase will fund 500 kg to 1 tonne of carbon emissions reductions through Savick’s solar array installation for a community non-profit carbon offset project in Leduc, AB.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

This project aims to address an unjust energy transition, a lack of captured carbon alternatives, and unsustainable fashion. A consumer product brand from NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE X-Factor Winner, Carbon Upcycling Technologies, Expedition Air produces advanced solid additives derived from greenhouse emissions and cheaply available solids for use in the consumer products industry. Savick brings expertise in the carbon offset industry and will be working directly with the The Leduc & District Food Bank Association on installing the solar arrays and monitoring the success of the project.

Consumers drive the demand for the materials that go into their products but there are few opportunities for consumers to access products manufactured with captured carbon, recycled materials, or renewable energy. This project will fund both renewable energy and carbon tech in Alberta. Savick is an offset provider and leads a project in Leduc, AB to install a solar array on The Leduc & District Food Bank Association. By providing tangible products made from captured carbon emissions, Expedition Air educates consumers while providing them an opportunity to express their buyer power.

Connect with these teams at expeditionair.today and savick.ca/

Student Energy’s PV Ventures Pilot Project at NAIT

Our NAIT Pilot Ventures project is the first stage in building out and implementing the Student Energy Ventures program, which aims to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, systems, and funding that results to 10,000 youth-led clean energy projects by 2030.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

The NAIT – Student Energy Pilot project is focused on developing the first set of technical documents required to execute an on-campus solar PV Guided Ventures project, along with the execution of a real world demonstration solar project at NAIT designed and led by youth. The resulting technical & project document templates will be referenced by other young people in Canada and globally, while executing the solar PV demo project inside the campus will ensure that students get the full learning and practical experience in managing a renewable energy project.

Find out more at studentenergy.org

Strathmore High School Community Geodesic Greenhouse

Our team is made up mostly of students in Grades 10-12 at Strathmore High School. Our goal is to create a community greenhouse using green energy sources, and be completely off grid.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

We are proposing the construction of an Arctic Acres Geodesic Greenhouse at Strathmore High School. We envision this greenhouse as a true community greenhouse and something that would impact all members in our community. This space could be accessed by various schools and community groups and used to promote sustainable food production, sustainable energy practices, and science education. The benefit of a Geodesic Greenhouse is the ability to operate the greenhouse year round ‘off the grid’. The greenhouse would be able to be accessed in the colder months and would require no extra cost to heat during these times. We plan to provide food to the overnight shelter in Strathmore, other community organizations, as well as within our school.

Follow what they are up to at @awkwardaquaponics on YouTube and tiktok channels

Heir-Bedding

Reducing your energy consumption helps save the planet. As the world’s middle class expands so does the demand for energy, if we can curtail their energy load and keep them as comfortable as possible, we will have achieved the best of both worlds. Desmond and Ciaran Morris are working to reduce the energy load that is typically associated with heating and cooling our homes.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

Growing demand for air conditioners is one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate. Energy demand due to air conditioning is expected to triple by 2050, reaching 6,205 TWh. With our ever-expanding middle class, we move from a global society struggling to put food on the table, to one that has income to spend on comfort. Now 6.6 billion people have access to electricity. Poorly built homes are difficult to regulate and can be too hot or cold, this will lead to significant electricity usage to combat these conditions. We have a solution to help called Heir Bedding. This device heats or cools the sliver where we spend 1/3rd of our lives for a fraction of the cost of conditioning the room and the Energy Futures Youth Seed Funding helps us develop our prototype design.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/RheaBuildingLogic/

AI Shading

AI Shading is striving to build a smart shade that is capable of using machine learning to choose the optimal time to open or close the shades based on the current weather conditions leading to reduction in energy expenditure for heating/cooling the indoor living space.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

The main objectives of the product are to reduce energy consumption, increase room occupant comfort by facilitating good indoor lighting and to work synchronously with a group of shades to achieve a multifold effect. We have currently deployed our pilot project at SAIT green building technologies building.

AI Shading wishes to see a world where everybody gets fair access to energy at a very insignificant price. Currently, the world relies heavily on fossil fuels which are not a renewable source and contribute heavily towards global pollution. One way to reduce the reliance on these fuel sources and reducing the overall cost for energy consumption is to reduce your energy consumption at the source.

Find out more at aishading.com

YYC Shapers: Energy Justified, a podcast and panel on the just energy transition

Global Shapers YYC is hosting a podcast and panel session titled Energy Justified: The Just Energy Transition. The podcast will feature interviews with experts at the leading edge of their fields, who will shed a light on the value, challenges and opportunities of achieving a just energy transition in Alberta.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

The energy transition is a major challenge and opportunity facing Albertans. With 20 global leaders vowing at COP26 to end funding fossil fuel projects abroad, the momentum for the transition is growing. Alberta can harness this challenge as an opportunity to be at the forefront of a just energy transition, one where all can benefit and no one is left behind. This initiative looks to raise awareness among youth about the opportunities for change in Alberta.

With the grant from the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund, the podcast will serve as an opportunity to shed light on the progressive work being done in Alberta, and to ensure that Alberta remains a leader on the international energy stage. By raising awareness of the just energy transition, we hope to help shape this perspective in the young progressive thinkers and future policy-makers of our province.

Check out the podcast here https://www.yycshapers.org/projects-6

Round 2 (Jan – Feb, 2022)

Climate Resilient Building Materials

Poorly insulated homes require additional energy to heat and cool. Not only is this damaging to the climate, it directly contributes to Energy Poverty; an issue that afflicts 1 in 6 Albertans. Samuel is developing Climate Resilient Building Materials™ to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of green building technologies that have been traditionally limited to individuals with significant financial means.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

What if tomorrow’s buildings could be a carbon sink, and not a source? To do so, Climate Resilient Building Materials is combining natural materials with modern building science. This project centers upon the processing and testing of a refined wheat straw insulation material. Project activities as a result of the Energy Futures Youth Seed Funding will include the continued development of material handling equipment, completing material testing, and demonstration of the insulation material in sample building assemblies.

This project’s website and social media is currently being created, with an expected launch at the end of March 2022. For updates, you can follow Samuel’s company, Savick, on Linkedin or its website, www.savick.ca

iDIG

Many indigenous peoples’ ‘way of knowing’ is to respect and honor our land while leaving a prosperous life for our children. iDIG will be indigenous owned and indigenous operated while allowing our ‘way of knowing’ to guide our directives and goals. iDIG is in the process of creating partnerships and hiring VOG App Developers to bring the vision to life.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

iDIG’s main objective is to create a solution for clean energy while increasing socio-economic security for urban and rural indigenous communities and groups. iDIG is a web based platform that allows project managers to easily connect with indigenous urban and rural communities to access available equipment rentals and transportation services. Using this platform, the customer demographic can quickly compare equipment prices and locations in conjunction to the project location. Furthermore, iDIG calculates the carbon’s saved by using local resources rather than hauling their own equipment to the project site. Through these calculations, iDIG creates a carbon savings report for project companies to upload to their personal data.

While project’s are doing everything they can to reduce their carbon footprint, projects utilizing iDIG are also bringing socio-economic wealth to rural indigenous communities. As leaders it’s a priority to leave a legacy that enriches our youth with opportunity, compassion and dedication to our environmental future; simply using the iDIG platform, we are making an impact on generations to come.

Selishia is seeking connections and support to continue to build momentum on this project. If you, or others you know are interested in connected with her, please let Kelley at kthompson@energyfutureslab.com know!

The Howl Experience – “Transition” Pilot Program

Howl is an experiential learning pathway for youth. We are a non-profit educational initiative designed with the understanding that not all pathways in life are linear. Happening May 6-15, 2022, Howl’s “Transition” Pilot Program will be a 10-day field-study adventure for 25 youth participants ages 18-25 through the Canadian Rockies and surrounding areas.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

Offering an experiential learning opportunity that helps youth to create community projects and explore education and career pathways, the program will be built around the four sustainability principles and enable them to contribute to a sustainable society that focuses on people, economy and climate. The Program will be led by five of Howl’s educators.

Howl’s “Transition” Pilot program will create an experiential space for youth to build an understanding of the transitioning energy industry and its many implications in the realms of mining, agriculture, land use, Indigenous Reconciliation, economic policy, climate, reclamation, equity and community development. Youth participants will also gain an understanding of education, career, and community action pathways toward contributing to this sustainable society; building the ability to identify current gaps and create pathways to a more just society and a fulfilling role within it.

Check out the program at https://www.experiencehowl.com

Ruth Products Corp.

Sustainability is a key part of our business at Ruth. The problem that we face not only by our company but the mass in general is that there is very little education regarding menstruation, which also means that there is very little education regarding the waste associated with menstruation. We aim to shed some light on the sustainability in the period care industry to help create a just and equitable energy transition in Alberta.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

There has been such a huge shift towards making sustainability a priority not only on a consumer-level but on a much bigger scale in the government and private sectors. The Just and Sustainable Energy Transition in Alberta is already happening with companies like ours. It’s time we bring everyone together and talk optimistically about where our province is headed and how we can help alleviate some challenges that our nature is facing. Our team is on a mission to make sustainable periods easy not only for those who can afford our products but also provide access to those in need. With this project, we aim to also encourage our attendees to help us donate menstrual products to our donation partners. Through the funding that we will receive from Energy Futures Lab, we would like to match the number of pads donated by attendees to support our partner organizations. We truly believe that period products need to be more accessible for consumers and to the communities who may not be able to afford it.

Our goal is to target 100 attendees for this event and we aim to host this through a webinar. Our target date for the webinar is around Earth Day which is on April 22, 2022.

Find out more at www.getruth.ca

Young Arts & Culture for Systems Change: A Creative Visioning Symposium

Our goal is to create a collective summit of young Albertan voices, who use varying artistic practices to mobilize different perspectives. By sharing our differences, this project uses a peer-driven approach that is co-design and co-created through the art of storytelling.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

A youth-driven one-day event for any and all Albertans taking place in Edmonton (and live streamed on zoom) on June 26th, 2022, the symposium will feature artists from different disciplines who will present or perform their work exploring the theme of what a “Just and Sustainable Energy Transition in Alberta”. This will be followed by a panel discussion, then a Q&A and a voluntary audience-engagement activity involving the creation of a real-time word cloud and “visioning map”. These take-home resources will be distributed to participants after the symposium along with a post-event follow-up survey.

Whether it be a movie, podcast, play, or painting, art has the power to make people care about issues such as sustainability, that can otherwise feel confusing or overwhelming. Platforms to amplify the voices and work of artists and cultural workers who are tackling these issues will help shift public consciousness and bring equity into climate-related conversations by addressing issues on an accessible, intuitive, emotional level.

Find out more at https://marenkathleenelliott.com/artwork/projects/young-artists-for-systems-change/

ELCE UCalgary Outdoor Solar Charging Hub

To advance clean energy initiatives at the University of Calgary, the Emerging Leaders for Clean Energy (ELCE) club is planning to build an outdoor solar charging hub on campus. The charging hub will allow individuals to sit in the hub while charging their personal devices outdoors.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

ELCE UCalgary is looking to expand its positive impact and implement accessible clean energy options for students at the University of Calgary and in the community. The Outdoor Solar Charging Hub project aims to display the viability of small-scale off-grid solar energy on campus. This project also aims to educate the general student population about solar energy and its feasibility as an energy source. The hub is designed by the ELCE club members who will also manage the construction of the structure on campus in consultation with the project stakeholders. With increased energy literacy and hands-on experience relating to solar energy, more students will be supportive of future projects and developments in solar power which will further contribute to a just and sustainable energy transition in Alberta.

Follow and find out more at www.facebook.com/elceucalgary/

Project Omnivore

By leveraging the proven technology of anaerobic digestion, we will deploy a prototype ranch-scale Stirred Tank Reactor (STR) capable of producing sufficient methane on a continuous basis to heat a barn, shop, or residential home.

How did the Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund help?

Our project helps achieve people reducing their own carbon footprint while reducing emissions and waste products at the source by creating a solution where all people can feel empowered and successful in doing this for themselves. Albertans will be familiar with the odour of sulfurous compounds emanating from farmers’ fields at certain times of the year. These smells are an indicator of the methanogenic process taking place in the open air and dispersing the harmful gasses directly to the atmosphere. Our project would seek to provide a sustainable and profitable use for the manure waste produced by cattle ranching while simultaneously capturing the methane emissions and converting them into a useful energy product.

This grant will be used to fund the establishment of the business entity and website, and to partially offset the cost of materials and tools used to develop and install a single prototype STR on the property of a participating rancher. Beyond the scope of this grant, we hope to produce a retail model of this reactor for sale to first ranchers, then others who deal with large quantities of biological waste products.

Please reach out to Kelley at kthompson@energyfutureslab.com if you can offer support or assistance for this project.

A very special thank you to our committed Energy Futures Youth Seed Fund Review Committee!

Aatif Baskanderi (Alumni), Abbas Ali Beg (Fellow), Ankit Mishra (Fellow), Diandra Bruised Head (Alumni), Emma Gammans (Alumni), John Gould (Alumni), Laura MacTaggart (Ambassador), and Olivia Reshetylo (Ambassador)

Do you have a question?

Please get in touch with info@energyfutureslab.com