Intern Profile: Charlie Atkins, Chemical Laboratory Technologist

The Clean Technology Innovation Lab team, part of Centre for Energy Research in Clean Unconventional Tech Solutions (CERCUTS), is conducting testing on experimental prototypes to study energy storage systems (ESS) and its capabilities for potential demonstration of made-in-Alberta solutions for the use of clean power within the regional energy industry and in Canada’s oilsands applications.

Charlie Atkins, a recent graduate of the Chemical Laboratory Technology program from the MacPhail School of Energy at SAIT, is a new CICan Career-Launcher Internships intern working at SAIT’s Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS)with the research team at the CERCUTS Clean Technology Innovation Lab. He is utilizing his knowledge and experiential training along with ARIS research engineers and scientists to investigate fuel cells to produce clean electric power from methane or bio-gas which is abundantly available in many parts around the globe. This clean electric power will then be stored in novel batteries and tested to ensure high performance and explosion free results in safe ESS. Atkins’ research, focused on alternative energy,builds upon previous research and tests various types of novel ESS. For example, lithium ESS are very popular, but lithium is expensive, has safety related issues and is not abundantly available in all parts of the world.

Atkins’ research involves testing abundantly available materials which enables high-energy density and has a higher potential of commercialization with a lower cost. Affordable ESS can be used to provide power to Canada’s energy grid by balancing loads between peak and off-peak demand times, storing electricity in micro-grids from intermittent sources, such as wind and solar power, and for also providing power to fast charging electrical and autonomous vehicles.

The production of cheaper long term ESS solutions will benefit many consumers of energy. For example, where there is low methane emissions from either a landfill or an abandoned well, the fuel cell and ESS can provide off-grid clean power for use at remote sites for backup power. Alternatively, clean power could also be used to provide electricity to equipment in conjunction with reclamation and remediation activities at remote legacy sites. The good news is that the results of this research will generate clean power with no emissions thus reducing greenhouse gases impact on the environment.”

Charlie Atkins, Chemical Laboratory Technologist

ARIS supports programs and leveraged funding initiatives which are important resources for industry and small- and medium-sized enterprises working to find relevant, tomorrow’s market solutions today. ARIS catalyzes innovation by fostering the engagement of new graduates, students and the next generation of professionals to solution-based applied research that can benefit the Canadian energy, economy, environment and society. ARIS provides opportunities for young, bright researchers such as CICan Career-Launcher Internships intern, Charlie Atkins, who works in the Clean Technology Innovation Lab at CERCUTS, to aspire and become the next generation of energy thought leaders and contribute to transformative change through innovation in the field of clean power generation and storage.

Image of rocket taking off