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Alberta

Getting the Next Generation of Alberta Youth Excited about Renewable Energy with Eavor Technologies Inc.

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In February 2021, oil giants bp and Chevron, along with a number of other notable groups announced their decision to back Calgary-based geothermal company Eavor Technologies Inc. through a $40 million funding round. Since then, discussions regarding the pivot away from oil and gas into renewables have captured national interest. Is this a sign the shift is officially underway? 

Eavor Technologies is a local geothermal tech company making international waves in the global renewable energy arena. By revolutionizing the approach to geothermal energy, Eavor’s technology has eradicated several of the costly, inefficient measures associated with traditional geothermal. Without experiencing the limitations of traditional geothermal, nor being subject to intermittency issues associated with wind and solar, Eavor’s solution is one the world sorely needs. 

Alberta Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer recently commended Eavor in an address discussing ongoing economic diversification in Alberta, noting private sector investment in provincial geothermal wells. “Eavor Technologies of Calgary has raised significant money for this, and plans to produce enough geothermal power to heat thousands of homes over the next decade,” said Schweitzer. 

In light of recent developments in the oil and gas industry, Eavor’s ongoing mission to harness the Earth’s geothermal potential to provide reliable, scalable, baseload power for millions of homes in the coming years has taken on a new key component. 

Following the announcement, Eavor has taken several steps to further invest in academia in Alberta through the launch of an ongoing educational campaign aimed at engaging Alberta youth in the future of renewable energy in the province and across the nation. As a local, cutting edge technology company on a mission to positively change the world, Eavor recognizes the importance of encouraging the bright members of the young generation to ask questions and actively participate in the ongoing changes occurring in the  energy industry. 

“Eavor has developed a unique renewable energy solution by applying established or proven technologies in an innovative and creative way,” says Bailey Schwarz, Lead Engineer for Eavor. “Educating and engaging the next generation will encourage creative thinking and problem solving in the energy sector that will keep building on these innovations in every sector.” 

Earlier this month, Eavor Technologies Inc. announced a multi-year research and development partnership with the University of Calgary Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) valued at almost $1 million.
This partnership will focus on building on existing Alberta drilling technology to effectively further applications for geothermal exploration and development, while educating the public and creating new jobs for Albertans. 

Engaging young adults at the university level is a key part of Eavor’s investment in geothermal education and development in Alberta, however, it doesn’t end there.

On March 10, 2021, team members from Calgary tech company Eavor Technologies Inc. visited Bearspaw Christian School in northwest Calgary to present their cutting-edge closed loop geothermal technology to the 10th grade science classes.
The presentation was led by Eavor’s Lead Engineer Bailey Schwarz, Senior Business Development Leader Neil Ethier and Chief Business Development Officer, Paul Cairns. 

Eavor Lead Engineer Bailey Schwarz presents to Students at Bearspaw Christian School

The team introduced Eavor’s mission, discussed the differing forms of renewable energy and explained the Eavor-Loop in relation to traditional geothermal. Bailey Schwarz then covered thermodynamics before introducing Eavor-Lite, Eavor’s successful, third party validated demonstration project located in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.
“The presentations went really well,” says Schwarz, “I was really impressed with the interest the students showed and the challenging questions they asked our team.” 

The presentation to Bearspaw Christian School is part of Eavor’s ongoing educational outreach campaign designed to get the younger generation excited about ongoing developments in the field of renewable energy. As future scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs, the bright students in Mr. Dallas Peterson’s 10th grade science class were captivated by Eavor’s presentation. They kept the team on their toes by asking endless questions to better understand the Eavor-Loop technology. “We were all really impressed by all the questions,” says Paul Cairns, CBDO of Eavor, “we really want to encourage these young kids to think differently.” 

Cairns closed the presentation by introducing a two-part Eavor Challenge. Part one is an opportunity for students to further explore Eavor’s global geothermal energy potential by determining the best possible location for a future Eavor-Loop. They were given a curated list of potential locations, which need to be ranked according to feasibility based on geological, economical, and socio-political factors – this list includes Mars. 

Eavor has partnered with Bearspaw Christian School to continue the challenge into the next school year, when a science research option being offered by Mr. Peterson will give students the chance to explore Eavor in extreme depth.
“I hope they come away from this experience excited for the future, and feeling that they will have an important part to play,” says Mr. Peterson, Bearspaw Secondary Science teacher, “I believe we need to foster the conversation with our youth surrounding the question, ‘in what ways could we envision energy alternatives?’ It’s so important to instill a hope for the future.” 

To encourage creativity alongside education, Eavor will be awarding an Oculus Quest Virtual Reality Headset, pre-loaded with the Eavor-Lite Virtual Tour, to one student from each semester who exceeds the challenge.

Eavor prides itself on being at the forefront of renewable energy development in Alberta, and investment and education for Alberta’s youth and young adults is a crucial step in ensuring a successful, prosperous future for the province. Students in grade school, high school, university and graduate school all have an important part to play in furthering provincial and national goals surrounding the pivot towards renewable energy.
“Investing in our youth is investing in our future,” says Paul Cairns, Chief Business Development Officer for Eavor Technologies. Eavor is proud to play a part in getting the next generation of Alberta youth excited and engaged in renewable technology, and geothermal energy development.

University of Calgary Positions 

The University of Calgary is hiring several positions for its multi-year R&D project with Eavor Technologies. 

  • Research Associate in Drilling Operations, Drilling Performance Optimization, Data Analytics, Drilling Modelling and Control. M.Sc. in engineering required, industry experience and/or Ph.D. preferred.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow in Drilling Mechanics, Bit-Rock interaction Modelling and Non-Linear System Dynamics and Control. A recent Ph.D. in engineering required.
  • Three Ph.D. Research Assistantships in:

1) Hydraulic percussion hammer modelling

2) Physics-informed data-driven model development

3) Estimation techniques for digital twinning

To apply, please send your CV, Cover Letter, and a Writing Sample to Roman Shor at [email protected]ucalgary.ca   

Eavor’s virtual tour and link to the Oculus Quest App can be experienced here: https://eavor.com/eavor-lite-virtual-tour

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Edmonton police use DNA phenotyping to find sex assault suspect

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By Angela Amato in Edmonton

Edmonton police say they are using DNA phenotyping, for the first time in its history, in trying to solve a sexual assault.

DNA phenotyping predicts physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence, and police use that information to narrow suspects and generate leads in criminal investigations.

Det. Colleen Maynes says the method is a last resort after all other investigative avenues have been exhausted.

“This was a vicious assault,” said Maynes, adding she doesn’t want to see the perpetrator act again.

A woman lost consciousness after she was violently sexually assaulted by a man who followed her from a bus stop in the central Spruce Avenue neighbourhood in March of 2019.

She sustained serious injuries and was found wearing only a shirt when it was -27 C.

“This survivor deserves justice,” said Maynes.

There were no witnesses, surveillance video, public tips or DNA matches in the case.

Detectives enlisted DNA technology company Parabon NanoLabs in Virginia to help in the investigation. The lab has provided DNA phenotyping to help with other files in Saskatchewan and Ontario.

Most DNA testing in Canada goes through the RCMP’s lab. Maynes said this can take a long time, as the RCMP deals with cases across the country and doesn’t have the resources or technologies that other labs do.

“We are lacking with that technology here in Canada,” said Maynes.

Paula Armentrout with Parabon said that since 2018, its labs have helped solve 230 violent crimes in North America, although not all of them used DNA phenotyping.

DNA phenotyping is not exclusive to sexual assault cases. The analysis has also been used to find possible suspects in murder cases and to identify remains.

With a computer-generated snapshot in the Edmonton sex assault case, DNA phenotyping determined the suspect to be a Black man with dark brown to black hair and dark brown eyes who stands about five-foot-four.

Armentrout said the turnaround for this type of analysis is about 45 days after receiving a DNA sample.

Police said the suspect’s description may impact a marginalized community. After consulting with community stakeholders and considering the severity of the assault and the threat to public safety, police released the details with a computer-generated image.

Any leads generated from the image will require further investigative steps, said Maynes.

“It is by no means an immediate path to accusing a suspect,” she said. “What it does is potentially give us leads in a cold case, and we can follow up with DNA testing from there.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2022.

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Alberta

Former head of Alberta Human Rights Commission suing justice minister over dismissal

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By Bob Weber in Edmonton

The former head of the Alberta Human Rights Commission is suing the province’s justice minister for wrongful dismissal, claiming Tyler Shandro caved in to carefully orchestrated political pressure.

Collin May’s statement of claim alleges members and supporters of the Opposition New Democratic Party feared May would expose sexual harassment problems at the commission that occurred when they were in government.

“This made the plaintiff a threat, and he was subsequently targeted by political opponents weeks before he was scheduled to start his term as chief,” the document says.

New Democrat justice critic Irfan Sabir called the charges a distraction.

“Collin May published overtly racist and Islamophobic views,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“The UCP government belatedly held him accountable for that. Mr. May’s innuendo is merely an attempt to distract from his own behaviour.”

May, a Calgary lawyer, was hired as chief of the commission on May 25.

Questions about his appointment began almost immediately. Some criticized his lack of experience in human rights law and others pointed to a book review he wrote in 2009 in which he quoted statements saying Islam was a fundamentally violent religion.

That review drew concerns from the National Council of Canadian Muslims. Members of the NDP caucus also called for May’s resignation.

The statement of claim accuses NDP supporters of stockpiling May’s book review years ago, then carefully co-ordinating and managing the public outcry against him to engineer his removal.

“The NDP were clearly co-ordinated for the purpose of smearing the plaintiff’s character,” the document says.

It goes on to allege the New Democrats went after May because they were afraid he would renew sexual harassment allegations against two senior members of the commission who had been appointed by NDP leader and then-premier Rachel Notley.

“(May) learned that there was also a culture of pervasive sexual harassment within the NDP during Notley’s time as premier,” says the claim.

“Notley therefore could not afford to have the public learn that … her own appointees had also allowed for a culture of pervasive sexual harassment and bullying.”

The document says Shandro neither defended May nor emphasized that the commission is an arm’s length agency, which he has no direct control over. In fact, it alleges senior officials in Shandro’s office were so insistent on getting May to apologize for statements he says he didn’t make that May had to block their numbers on his cellphone.

As well, the lawsuit alleges May was forbidden from meeting with Muslim organizations by Muhammad Yaseen, Alberta’s associate minister of immigration and multiculturalism. It says May was told to wait to await ministerial direction, which never came.

“Minister Shandro’s office was heavily involved in facilitating the smear campaign against Collin May,” said May’s lawyer Kathryn Marshall in an interview.

The situation got so bad that May received threatening phone calls at his home. May’s law firm removed his phone number from its website and for four days in July, the lawsuit says, May and his partner were afraid to leave their Calgary home.

“The (commission) and the defendant did nothing to support (May) during this difficult time,” the lawsuit says.

It says that on Sept. 15, May got a letter telling him his job was over on a “without cause” basis.

A spokesman for Shandro declined to comment, saying the matter is before the courts.

Marshall said May had signed a five-year contract on the same basis as any other civil servant and was not given the basic rights he was due under Canadian law.

“It’s not about deflecting criticism or playing political games,” she said. “This is about getting my clients’ rights enforced.

“(The government) fired him and are now falsely alleging he resigned.”

The lawsuit seeks to recover the money May would have earned over the five-year term as well as damages to his reputation — about $2.1 million.

The allegations in the statement of claim have not been tested in court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2022.

— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960

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