The Challenge 2023


Critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and various rare earth materials are required for the production of renewable energy and related technologies. Critical minerals are used in batteries, permanent magnets, solar panels, wind turbines, and most modern technology, such as smart phones. Responsibly and sustainably sourcing and extracting these materials are increasingly important as the world moves towards renewable energy sources.

Nuclear energy has been used for many years. Public perception surrounding this energy source is mixed, and there have been highly publicized examples of things going wrong. However, it is a reliable and safe energy source, given the right precautions and technology. Smaller, more modular nuclear plants would allow for power generation in remote areas with less infrastructure, but these smaller units are less efficient and produce more waste per unit of power generated than the larger, more permanent installations. In both cases, there remains a significant challenge in safely and ethically disposing of waste produced during the power production process.

Hydrogen is an emissions-free combustible fuel when burned with oxygen. Hydrogen fuel is typically obtained from methane refining or through water electrolysis, meaning that obtaining the hydrogen may or may not be a carbon-free process. Production is usually classified as either “grey hydrogen” (by-product of industrial processes), “blue hydrogen” (co-produced with CO2 which is then captured), or “green hydrogen” (produced entirely from renewable sources). Efficient extraction of hydrogen for use as a fuel remains an ongoing challenge. sources.

Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a biogas that has been processed and upgraded to sufficient purity that it can be used in place of conventional natural gas, for example in natural gas vehicles. Some sources of RNG include landfills, manure from livestock operations, wastewater treatment, and organic waste from industrial, institutional, and commercial entities (e.g., from food production and sale, hospitals, or educational facilities). Since RNG uses methane that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere to produce renewable energy, it is considered to be carbon-neutral.

2022-23 Cohort

Annika Naylor

Coming from a geophysics background and looking to get into low carbon energy solutions, I am doing my MSc at the University of Calgary in Sustainable Energy Development. I worked at CarbMin Lab automating inversions of ultramafic rocks for carbon sequestration at the University of British Columbia after my undergraduate degree, and am passionate about diversifying Canada’s energy landscape. I am particularly interested in nuclear energy, transit and transportation, carbon capture, and hydrogen fuel solutions. For REDEVELOP, I am hoping to gain more experience with Traditional Knowledge and energy transitions for smaller communities. Outside of school I enjoy beach volleyball, boxing, and all types of creative pursuits. I’m extremely excited to work with the Modular Nuclear team, and look forward to hearing about all the awesome ideas to come out of this year’s REDEVELOP group!

Avadhoot Date

Avadhoot V Date, is currently working as Doctoral Researcher in Contaminant Hydrogeology with Prof Mayer at the University of Calgary. He completed his MSc. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in India (2020). Subsequently he worked as a Development Geologist for Vedanta Ltd (India) for 2 years. His responsibilities included Geological prognosis preparation and real time monitoring of wells during offshore drilling campaigns. As a PhD student, his current research interests are to understand fate and transport of contaminants in the groundwater using isotope geochemistry and groundwater modeling. During his free time, he likes to play badminton, and likes hiking in the mountains.

Brant Zeeman

Brant Zeeman, P.Eng., earned his BASc in Mineral Engineering from the University of Toronto in 2012. Brant worked in the iron ore industry for ten years as an EIT and Mining Engineer, focusing on reserve estimation, exploration, and mergers & acquisitions. He is in the first year of a MASc degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, supervised by Professor Grasselli. Brant’s research interests include geostatistics, numerical modeling and the potential application of hydraulic fracturing to base metal mining. Brant is trilingual (English, Cantonese, French) and is based in Toronto. He enjoys making giant soap bubbles, art and food science outside of the lab.

Camilo De La Hoz Lozano

Camilo is working with Dr van der Bann in the MSc program in Geophysics at the University of Alberta. His work is focused on signal processing and seismic studies. Precedent starting his master’s program, Camilo worked as a Geoscientist and Data scientist for 3 years and as Technical Project Manager for 1 year in a Colombian technology company. He participated on the board of the Professional Geosciences Chapter of the Alumni association of Universidad de los Andes Colombia (the university where he obtained his degree in Geosciences). Later on, he became president of the Chapter in 2021. Camilo is eager to believe that knowledge, academy and social responsibility must coexist and is working hard to demonstrate it. His passion is Music (mainly Soda Stereo), Dragon ball Z, Tennis, outdoors and having an awesome family and friends.

Elena Temnikova

Elena Temnikova is a second-year Ph.D. student in Geophysics under the supervision of Prof. Potter at the University of Alberta. Elena received a BSc (2019) and MSc (2021) in Petroleum Geology at the Novosibirsk State University (Russia). Her previous research was dedicated to the lithological interpretation of a large unconventional reservoir using well-logging and core data. Elena worked as a Researcher at the Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics SB RAS (Russia). Her current research focuses on studying the magnetic properties of rocks in Northern Alberta. In her spare time, she enjoys fitness, cooking, and travelling.

Hai Wang

Hai Wang is working on his PhD in Petroleum Engineering with Prof. Chen at the University of Calgary. He received his BEng (2019) in Petroleum Engineering from the China University of Petroleum (East China). Hai’s current research interests are the application of machine learning in reservoir engineering and molecular simulation. Hai is also interested in mathematical modelling and once won the Finalist award in Mathematical Contest In Modeling organized by COMAP in 2018. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and playing badminton.

Jeffrey Obeng Dappah

Jeffrey Obeng Dappah’s enthusiasm for pursuing his second Master’s in the area of Public Policy at the University of Calgary stems from his interest in Energy Transition. Jeffrey holds an Executive master’s in finance from the University of Ghana and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking and Finance from Valley View University. With a passion for implementing evidence-based programs with both social and economic benefits, this outstanding communicator and incredibly organized graduate seeks to expand his knowledge base and utilize his leadership and policy experience in a fast-paced environment.

Qiushan (Lillian) Li

Lillian Li is working on her Master of Public Policy (MPP) with Prof. Shaffer at the University of Calgary. She received her BCom (2014) in Management Information Systems from the University of Alberta and MA (2018) in Economics from the University of Victoria. She also earned an IBM Data Science Certificate. Lillian’s current research interest is in the electricity sector: grid decarbonization and energy transition. She is also interested in environment and energy policies, climate change policies, and doing empirical data-driven research. Lillian has co-op experiences with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta and UVic United Way. She is bilingual (English/Mandarin). In her spare time, she enjoys music and exploring the city.

Luana Maria Kiefer

Luana Maria Kiefer is working on her Msc in Geophysics with Prof. Van der Baan at the University of Alberta. Luana received her BSc in Environmental Engineering (2021) at the Federal University of Espírito Santo, in Brazil. Luana worked in different fields of research during her undergrad, highlighting the research of the “Propagation of the Acoustic Wave in Heterogeneous Media” and the “Study of the Recycling of Waste from Electronic Equipment”. Luana speaks 3 languages (Portuguese/English/French) and her current research interests includes Geomechanical Modeling of Rock Deformation.

Mohammadamin Sharifnik

Amin joined in the Rock Mechanics and Rock Physics group of Professor Grasselli in 2021 as a PhD student in Mineral and Civil Engineering under the supervision of Professor Goodfellow. He completed his first master’s program in Petroleum Exploration Engineering at University of Tehran (2015), and graduated from Polytechnic University of Turin in Petroleum and Mining Engineering (2021), as his second master’s program. He pursued his master’s thesis titled “The Effect of Coarsening Phenomenon on Foam Flow Behavior in Fractured Reservoirs” at TU Delft University (2020-2021). His interests mainly focus on Hydraulic Fracturing, Geothermal and Hydrogen Systems as well as Rock Mechanics Testing. Amin has a great passion for the projects which have been evolved around sustainability, and looks forward to participating in the upcoming innovative projects.

Muming Wang

Muming Wang is working on his Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering with Prof. Chen at the University of Calgary. He received his MSc (Outstanding Graduate) (2020) and B-Eng (2017) in Petroleum Engineering at Southwest Petroleum University (Chengdu, China), with a publication of an invention patent. He was inspired to study artificial intelligence (AI) after his Scholar-Visiting to Kyoto University (Kyoto, Japan). He is interested in artificial intelligence-related multi-modal and interdisciplinary exploration, and currently studying production analysis, forecast, and optimization of natural gas in unconventional reservoirs with machine learning methods. He received awards from ConocoPhillips Energy Innovation Project and Alberta Graduate Excellence Scholarship (AGES). Meanwhile, he works as a member of the Youth Editorial Board of the Journal of Advances in Geo-Energy Research (AGER). Wang is trilingual (Chinese/English/Japanese) and enjoys an active lifestyle of guitar playing, cooking, and swimming.

Nils Betancourt Irusta

Nils Betancourt Irusta is working on his PhD in Civil Engineering with Prof. Gracie at the University of Waterloo. He received his BSc in Civil Engineering (2019) at the Peruvian University of Applied Science in Peru. During his undergraduate studies, Nils worked with the Finite Element Method applied to the Smeared Crack approach to simulate fracture in concrete. Then, he worked as a research assistant in the Civil Engineering department, doing research on the post-buckling phenomena of micropolar high-order beams using the Finite Element Method. His current research focuses on computational geomechanics. In his spare time, Nils enjoys reading, swimming, and playing board games.

Raisha Pradisti

Raisha Pradisti is working on her MSc in Geophysics at the University of Alberta with Prof. Mirko van der Baan. She received her BSc (2019) in Geophysics from Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia. Her research interest includes seismic hazard analysis and earthquake monitoring. Before pursuing her MSc, she worked as a research assistant for her BSc thesis supervisors, monitoring earthquake aftershocks and geothermal field microseismicity. Raisha is bilingual (English and Indonesian) and is willing to relocate for the right position. Raisha enjoys traveling, cooking Indonesian food, cafe crawling, and watching Korean television shows in her free time.

Samuel Olawuwo

Samuel Olawuwo, CPA, CMA is working on his MPP (Masters in Public Policy) at the University of Calgary. His research interest is in energy and economic policy focusing on Alberta Oil & Gas well liabilities crisis. Samuel is a Chartered Professional Accountant of Canada and received his Bachelor’s degree from University of Ibadan and his Master’s in Business Administration from Lagos Business school, both in Nigeria. Samuel has more than two decades of industry experience in the Oil and Gas industry, where has spent the greater part of his career. His experience covers consulting, auditing, finance management, project management, treasury & investment management, stakeholders management, among others. Samuel enjoys travelling, reading, watching soccer, running and he volunteers with community groups in a range of capacities.

Tahmina Mirzayeva

Tahmina Mirzayeva is working on her MSc in Geophysics with Prof. Van Der Baan at the University of Alberta. She received BSc in Petroleum Engineering (2018) from Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University (ASOIU) in Azerbaijan. Before returning to academia, She worked as a Drilling Engineer at the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and a Wireline engineer at Halliburton in both the UK and Azerbaijan on several projects for three years, including detecting the leaking well and well abandonment projects. Tahmina’s current research focuses on interpreting microseismic data and the effect of stress shadow and topography on the microseismic pattern.

Thomas de Boer

Thomas de Boer earned his BASc in Geological Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2019 before working in the industry as a Geotechnical EIT focusing on civil tunnelling and mining projects. Thomas joined the Civil and Mineral Engineering department at the University of Toronto in 2021 seeking a MASc.  His research interests range from finite-discrete modelling (FDEM) for tunnels and underground excavations to GIS and data science applications to large geotechnical datasets. Thomas assists professor Grasselli to teach U of T engineering students “Tunnelling and Underground Excavations” course.