New Atlantic Zero-Emission Energy System Laboratory to be established at UPEI

| Research
Dr. Yulin Hu
Dr. Yulin Hu

Dr. Yulin Hu, an assistant professor in the UPEI Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering, has received funding from the federal and provincial governments to establish a new Atlantic Zero-Emission Energy System Laboratory (AZEESL) that will produce clean and sustainable fuels and materials from biowaste.

The project is being supported with a $151,439 contribution through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and $64,362 from Innovation PEI, as well as $147,564 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R Evans Leaders Fund. 

“We are taking action to protect our planet and build a strong, resilient future for generations to come,” said Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, on behalf of the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA. “This project fits very well with Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan and our goal of creating new opportunities in a clean economy.”

“Rapid industrialization, growing energy needs, depleting non-renewable fossil fuels, and a massive amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the primary drivers for developing clean and sustainable energy carriers,” said Dr. Hu. “It is essential to substitute fossil fuels with renewable and sustainable energy sources like biowaste for the production of fuels, chemicals, and materials.”

Dr. Hu and her research team will develop clean and sustainable fuels and materials, including hydrogen, syngas, drop-in fuels, and cardon dioxide bio-adsorbents, that can be used as substitutes for fossil fuels-derived fuels and materials. They will use a wide range of biomass and organic waste ranging from agricultural and forestry waste to industrial and municipal solid waste to produce material and chemicals that are normally produced from fossil fuels. 

“This will help PEI and the other Atlantic provinces reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, improve energy security and diversification, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” she said, “which will accelerate the transition towards a clean, low carbon footprint and sustainable economy. The anticipated outcomes of our research will benefit the energy, environment, agricultural, forestry, and aquaculture sectors.” 

Dr. Greg Naterer, Vice-President, Academic and Research at UPEI, congratulated Hu on her project.

“The research conducted by Dr. Hu and her team at the Atlantic Zero-Emission Energy System Laboratory will lead to tangible solutions to the problem of climate change and improve the quality of life for Canadians,” he said. “We appreciate the support of the federal and provincial governments for this project.”

The new laboratory will be located in the Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering building on the UPEI campus in Charlottetown.

UPEI acknowledges the assistance of Canada’s tri-council of federal granting agencies (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through its Research Support Fund, which helps fund services and infrastructure that support research activities at the University. In 2023–2024, UPEI was allocated $931,234.00 from the RSF. 

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