Researchers are the University of Alberta are teaming up with Canadian and German partners to develop new energy technologies, including a sustainable battery that is powered by biowaste.
It’s part of a new research initiative by the university called Future Energy Systems. The university is reported pouring $75 million in funding into the project, which hopes to find new ways to produce renewable energy technologies that can serve Canadians.
They aren’t alone; in addition to the research team at German firm Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the University of Alberta will be joined in this effort by the Alberta Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Alberta Innovates, Susteen Technologies Canada, and transportation giant WestJet.
Renewable Energy in Biowaste-Powered Batteries
The team has big plans for Future Energy Systems, including innovative storage batteries and alternative uses for CO2 emissions. The first project on their list: a biowaste-powered battery.
The biobattery uses technology developped by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Germany. The firm has already tested it in Europe, but it’s coming to Canada for the first time later this year.
When the test unit arrives, the research team plans to use a variety of biowaste from feed stocks in Alberta, such as municipal, agricultural, and forestry waste, as fuel. This phase will be important in determining which types of biowaste are viable for the new energy technology.
The hope is that a sustainable biowaste-powered battery could directly benefit communities in Alberta and across Canada by allowing them to turn local waste products into energy. However, that will only be financially viable if the locality has enough waste available that works with the biobattery system.
Should the technology prove viable in Alberta and beyond, it could represent exciting possibilities in renewable energy. Such a system would serve a dual purpose as an energy source and a means of disposing of waste that would otherwise represent an economic and environmental burden on communities.
It’s yet to be seen how the project will pan out. But researchers are optimistic about the promise of the biobattery project and Future Energy Systems as a whole.
“This agreement establishes a platform upon which many future energy technologies can be developed for use in Canada, Germany, and around the world,” says Dr. Amit Kumar, deputy director with Future Energy Systems.