Research Themes (2010-2014)

As part of the Initiative the University of Alberta has been cooperating since 2010 with four Helmholtz institutions, namely the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, the UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT in the fields of environmental and energy research. In addition, the Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus (BTU) is also a research partner in this initiative.

The goal of the collaboration was to extend the knowledge base for reducing greenhouse gas emissions arising from production and consumption of fossil fuels. In the context of the rehabilitation research it concentrated on the recovery of natural ecosystem functions.

The research topics initially included: the energy efficient environmentally friendly processing of fossil fuels, such as the oil sand deposits within the Province of Alberta, the capture of CO2 and other gases in the combustion process and geological storage of CO2, the use of the deep geothermal energy as a renewable energy source, environmentally sound treatment of waste waters and the restoration of landscapes after mining operations and the related research on fundamental processes of soil and landscape development. The scientific principles of independence, openness and transparency of results applied accordingly to the relevant research.

All research contributions of the participating Helmholtz-Centres in the area of energy and environment were evaluated by independent referees with regards to the compliance of the envisaged research with the principles of ecological sustainability. The presuppositions and the guidelines for the sustainability criteria are provided for download below:

N.B.: Against the backdrop of public discourse pertaining to the retreat of Canada from the Kyoto protocol, the participating Helmholtz Centres decided to phase out specific research contributions directly or indirectly related to the exploitation of oil sands and to develop the cooperation in other fields.

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