Recently, Canada’s energy sector has gained substantial global attention in areas such as potential pipeline development and proposed foreign M&A activities in the oil and gas space. Meanwhile, media reports how the U.S. - Canada’s only current oil and gas customer - is using its recently developed unconventional fossil fuel resources (combined with reduced energy consumption) to accelerate along the path toward energy independence. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the U.S. will emerge as the world’s leading oil producer by 2020. Meanwhile, Alberta’s oil sands projects report continued high operation costs while producing bitumen that is selling below the average oil market price.
Other reports indicate that Canada’s innovation status during the past decade gradually has been slipping down the list of G20 nations. Affordable energy sustainability, the overall economy and the long-term well being of energy users are interconnected, and thus a data-based critical look at Canada’s potential energy future is warranted. By assessing the varying impact of energy innovation in a global perspective, this presentation attempts to demonstrate that Canada could be well positioned to benefit from the IEA’s recently released and much discussed Global Energy Outlook 2012. Clean energy development, energy efficiency, and materials innovation combined with Canada’s energy resource legacy will be discussed as critical enablers toward this goal.
Dr. Walter Cicha is with the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), which he joined in 2007. His primary responsibilities are to provide strategic intelligence support for the development and sustainment of SMEs within BC’s clean energy technology community. Walter earned his PhD in Chemistry (1989) from the University of British Columbia. He did a Postdoctoral Fellowship with CE/CEA/CNRS near Paris, France. Since then Walter has worked extensively in his field in various senior positions, most notably as Senior Scientist at GE Global Research in NY and as Senior Chemist at DuPont in DE, where he discovered a nanostructured carbon catalyst system that was more efficient, less toxic, and saved DuPont nearly $30 million to date. In recognition of this accomplishment, Walter and his team received the American Chemical Society’s Hero of Chemistry award. Walter was a Clean Energy Technology Advisor for the BC Nanotechnology Alliance in Vancouver prior to joining the NRC. Walter is the holder of 11 issued patents and the author of nearly 100 publications and reports. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at UBC, a Director on the Board of the Pacific Energy Innovation Association and lectures and writes broadly on the urgent challenges and technical/business opportunities associated with the development of affordable and sustainable energy technology, among other topics. Participation in numerous sports, music performance and community education take up Walter’s spare time, when he is not enjoying it with his wife Zuzana and their two children.