Announcing the Recipients of the Transition Pathways research grants

Sep 28, 2021

The Transition Accelerator is pleased to announce the recipients of our Transition Pathways research grants. This funding opportunity was launched in April 2021 in order to develop transformational pathways to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

In seeking submissions, we looked for projects that define credible, compelling, and capable transition pathways across Canada. These could be local, sub-regional, or regional in scope, and should be anchored in the Accelerator’s pathways methodology.

We would like to thank all those who applied to this opportunity. Canada’s net-zero future is bright.

This year’s recipients are:

Pathway to accelerate the diffusion of demand-side low-carbon innovations and socio-technical energy system change
Dr. Christina E. Hoicka and Dr. Jenny Lieu

This research will investigate the pathways to accelerate the diffusion of demand-side low-carbon innovations and socio-technical energy system change. Specifically, the research will map out whether innovations are pertinent, which can reinforce each other, and which policies, stakeholders and legitimacy factors help them and their interactions. The variables that the innovations were coded for can be considered “score cards” to analyze whether an innovation has potential for system disruption or reinforcement, and the level of policy and legitimacy support it receives. Finally, the research will analyze the relative diffusion rates of complementary innovations that are required to support renewable energy and electric vehicle deployment and also identify challenges to mapping and implementing pathways.

Understanding and managing the contraction of infrastructure for internal combustion engine vehicles
Sara Hastings-Simon, Ph.D

The transportation sector is responsible for 25% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it an important focus for efforts to address climate change. Reducing emissions through electrification of transportation will reduce the demand for gasoline and diesel fuels and the number of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the fleet declines. While there is much attention paid to questions around access to charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, the process of contraction of ICE gasoline station infrastructure is less studied. But at some point, in the decline ICE vehicle owners will face the same challenges that have plagued electric and hydrogen vehicle owners – namely the availability of sufficient fueling infrastructure to allow for convenient operation of the vehicles. This raises a number of potential issues, from the risk of stranded assets for owners of the ICE vehicles, to implications for land use planning for gasoline station locations, that will require policy interventions. This project will examine the process of contraction of gasoline station infrastructure to build a better understanding of how the contraction will progress, identifying potential risks and laying out solutions to manage the transition.

Integrating the gas and electrical grids for a net-zero future
Dr. Gordon Mctaggart-Cowan, Dr. Taco Niet, and Dr. Colin Copeland  

To achieve impactful change quickly on our way to a net-zero future, we need to get renewable energy to end users through all available pathways. This project investigates integrating the existing electricity and natural gas networks to store and distribute low-carbon energy. Excess renewable electricity will be used to generate hydrogen which can be stored in the gas grid. When demand is high, local generators will convert the hydrogen back into electricity as well as providing heating/cooling services. Working with project partner Enbala Networks Inc., the research team is modelling local and regional-level systems to quantify the greenhouse gas advantages of this exciting approach.