From left to right: Jae Mather (CEBC Executive Director), Babak Manouchehrinia, Rachel Chimuka, and Martin Mullany (CEBC Chair)
Following a bustling day of project inquiries and delegate engagement at Generate 2018, two students were dutifully rewarded with the title of Student Competition Winners. Babak Manouchehrinia from UVic and Rachel Chimuka from SFU were awarded the Graduate category and Undergraduate category, respectively.
Babak is a Ph.D. candidate who studies at UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His project focused on the environmental impact of natural gas as a transportation fuel, particularly in the use of marine transportation. Rachel studies Environmental Science at SFU. Her project was centered on state dependence of the climate and carbon cycle response to carbon dioxide removal.
Babak’s study presented “a new method to evaluate the life cycle environmental impact of natural gas as a marine fuel” for British Columbia. Babak achieved this by using data from natural gas producers and suppliers, and by investigating “the lifecycle emissions in the upstream supply chain” as well as “downstream emissions.” His results indicated that natural gas can be a desirable marine fuel “only if proper engine technologies are used.” In other words, natural gas “generates less air pollution and has a lower environmental impact than diesel fuel” and emits “55% lower CO2 emissions,” which can reduce overall air pollutants. BC has very strict environmental regulations, so if natural gas fuel is going to be considered as a “bridge to future all-electric powered vessels, then it must be used carefully” (2018).
In her work with partners Claude-Michel Nzotungicimpaye and Kirsten Zickfield, Rachel argued that little research has been conducted on the climate carbon cycle response (CCCR) to carbon dioxide removal (CDR) — the latter of which is “an integral component of emission scenarios aimed at keeping the global mean temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.” Her study utilized an Earth system model “to explore the extent to which the CCCR to CDR depends on the state of the climate system.” To that effect, her study had implications for CDR modeling, recommending “the use of additional simulations to determine the CCCR to CDR” as “CCCR to CDR differs significantly between the ‘equilibrium’ and ‘transient’ simulations because of climate system intertia.” She claimed that this is vital for CDR policy because “it shows that the climate system will have a delayed response to CDR technologies,” which means that “careful consideration should be taken before their implementation” (2018).
These two individuals won the judges over with their strong critical thinking, technical understanding, eloquence, and ability to contextualize their scientific studies within a policy framework. Both Babak and Rachel exemplify the importance of a positive attitude, passion for their work, and overall dedication to their projects. We wish them all the best in their future endeavours!
Clean Energy BC would like to give a big thank you to all of the student competitors: Ophela Zhang, Dina Shehata, Emily Mattarollo, Miguel Planas (UBC); Amin Nouri (UBC); Ester di Maio da Cunha (SFU); Viviane Hippmann Gauer (SFU); Kyle Valentine Schmidt (SFU); Linda Xu (UVic); Lily Chen (UVic); and Charlotte Lafleur (UVic).
Chimuka, Rachel, Claude-Michel Nzotungicimpaye, and Kirsten Zickfield. “State Dependence of the Climate and Carbon Cycle Response to Carbon Dioxide Removal.” Simon Fraser University, 2018.
Manouchehrinia, Babak. “Wells-to-Propeller Environmental Assessment of Natural Gas as a Transportation Fuel in BC.” University of Victoria, 2018.