REDEVELOP Geothermal Challenge

2021 REDEVELOP Geothermal Challenge to study impact of geothermally heated greenhouse in the Yukon

Eavor’s own Jeanine Vany mentored students on the 2021 REDEVELOP Geothermal Challenge to assess geothermal greenhouses as a way to address food insecurity in the Yukon using clean energy. The study on geothermal greenhouses showed that geothermal power presents strong opportunities for optimization. It considered the use of ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs) and showed that vegetables grown in these local geothermal greenhouses were effective in reducing carbon emissions from produce shipping.

Lonn Brown, one of the students who worked on the Geothermal Challenge with REDEVELOP says, “[Geothermal] is really interesting, I think that a lot of the difficulties that geothermal faces is due to the fact that people don’t really know much about it. If you say geothermal to most people, you’re met with “Oh I know about hot springs, how is that an alternative energy source?” And there’s so much energy down there. [People] don’t really have an understanding of how geothermal translates into the energy that our society needs.”

REDEVELOP is a Collaborative Research And Training Experience (CREATE) initiative. They are training Canada’s future leaders in low-carbon energy because Canada’s energy sector is changing. They believe unconventional resources are key to Canada’s transition to a low-carbon energy future, environmental sustainability and socio-economic stability.

Jeanine Vany believes “students need access to industry perspectives to enhance the practicality of the projects they are working on in academic settings.” REDEVELOP also “gives students additional contacts to leverage upon graduation and that should help them network toward a new job or internship upon graduation. I personally have been fortunate enough to transition into geothermal without a career gap but I know others are turning back toward school to prepare for the future potentially outside of oil and gas rather than leave the energy business. This is wonderful news because we are going to need the talent from Western Canada’s oil and gas sector to meet the challenges of the energy transition.”

She adds, “Eavor is a small company with a lot of employees that are coming from the oil and gas or spin-off industries, there is no playbook for what we are trying to achieve, and we are constantly learning and tuning our business models as we move forward. By working with students on projects such as REDEVELOP we get a chance to share what we know as early movers in the low carbon energy space. We all remember being students, who hired us for our first jobs, who mentored us early in our careers and realize those interactions brought us to where we are today. It’s about giving back because we are in a position to give back.”

REDEVELOP focuses on helping students transition into the workforce after graduation. They work to integrate technical expertise with skills training via the REDEVELOP Challenge. These skills include: Project Management, Public Perception & Consultation, Industry-Organization Psychology and more. REDEVELOP works with industry partners, highly qualified professionals (HQPs) and an Indigenous Mentorship Pipeline.

“It is intended to fund enhanced training for graduate students, rather than research per se.” David Eaton, University of Calgary Professor and CREATE REDEVELOP Chair says. “A lot of students in science and engineering do their research within silos, but once they get into the working world, they need to be able to function in multidisciplinary team environments and have an appreciation for what colleagues and other disciplines are doing. We also wanted to broaden the experience of science and engineering students so they worked with students in public policy, and we also wanted to ensure there was a very strong indigenous component, so understanding indigenous perspectives as a part of this program.”

Team Members include: Lonn Brown, Gideon Choi, Kimberly Markvoort, Andreas Murphy & Ali Yaghoubi

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