The Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada, is allocating $1.489 million to Carleton University for the research project entitled “Bending the Curve with NETS: Developing a New Modelling Framework for Negative Emissions Technologies”. The project is led by Dr. Kristen R. Schell, Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, along with co-PIs Dr. Ahmed Abdulla (MAE), Dr. Amir Hakami (CEE) and Dr. Elisabeth Gilmore (CEE).
Most net-zero pathways rely to some extent on negative emissions technologies (NETs), especially when it comes to mitigating warming emissions from hard-to-abate sectors. However, existing assessments of NETs either assume that they can scale up to meet a large, arbitrary target by mid-century (e.g., 10 Gigatons of CO2 removals per year, globally), or analyze the performance of facilities of arbitrary size (e.g., plants that remove a million tons of CO2 per year). The point of departure for this effort is that any realistic assessment of the role that NETs might play in the net-zero transition must consider the wider system in which they will be deployed: NETs require substantial resources like energy, water, land, and materials. Thus, the cost, net emissions, and risks of deploying NETs differ radically depending on location and growth rates, not to mention how the wider energy system evolves to achieve emission targets. This project will develop a large-scale modeling framework for Canada that will estimate the scale of potential NET deployment, considering scenarios of how our energy system is likely to evolve between now and 2050. The modeling framework will allow for the evaluation of optimal deployment pathways for NETs that account for risks and costs to businesses and social benefits to Canadians.
Nationally, the funding was part of a $58 million announcement by Minister Guilbeault for research projects that will advance climate change science and technology. This five-year project was announced by Environment and Climate Change Canada on November 23. It has a budget of $1.763 million, with $1.489 million in financial support from the Government of Canada.