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Alberta

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology Is The Way Forward

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I met an Uber driver recently that drives a 100% electric vehicle. It was bright green. His name was Michael, he says he makes over $80,000 a year driving an Uber.  He drives his electric vehicle from 5am till 11am, takes the afternoon to charge it up and then does a second shift from 8pm to 11pm. Excited to see the future of hydrogen fuel cell technology and the impact on transportation.

https://ca.linkedin.com/in/harrie-vredenburg-05b7052

Dr. Vredenburg is a leading scholar in the areas of competitive strategy, innovation, sustainable development and corporate governance in the global energy and natural resource industries and serves as the Suncor Chair in Strategy and Sustainability  He has authored or coauthored more than 50 frequently cited articles in leading international publications including Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, MIT Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business Review, Energy Policy, Energies, Technovation, International Journal of Economics & Business Research and Global Business & Economics Review.  He has also coauthored government reports on industry regulation, innovation and competitiveness and on nuclear energy and he consults to industry.  According to Google Scholar, his publications have been cited more than 5,000 times. 

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Professor & Suncor Chair in Strategy & Sustainability, Haskayne School of Business & Research Fellow, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

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Alberta

New measures expected in Alberta and pandemic weight gain: In The News for Nov. 24

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In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 24 …

What we are watching in Canada …

EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 has become like a snowball rolling down a hill, picking up size and speed, and threatening to overwhelm the health system.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says immediate action is needed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Premier Jason Kenney and select cabinet ministers were to meet with Hinshaw, and new measures are expected to be announced today.

Alberta, once a leader in how to prepare for and contain the virus, has in recent weeks become a national cautionary tale.

There have been well over 1,000 new cases a day for five straight days, and there are more than 300 patients in hospital and more than 60 in intensive care.

Kenney has said he wants targeted measures to control the virus while keeping businesses as open as possible.

Others, including some doctors, say the focus needs to be on a sharp clampdown, even for a short period.

Also this …

A new poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggests many Canadians are gaining weight because they’re eating more and exercising less during COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thirty-two per cent of respondents said they have gained weight since March, while 15 per cent said they lost weight over that time.

Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, says this is one of the collateral effects of the pandemic, as the survey suggests there is a link between weight gain and fear of COVID-19.

Forty-six per cent of respondents who said they are very afraid of COVID-19 gained weight during the pandemic.

Forty-four cent of those who expressed that level of fear said they have been exercising less than they did before the pandemic and about 46 per cent said they were eating more than usual.

The online survey of 1,516 Canadians was conducted Oct. 29-31 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

The U.S. General Services Administration has ascertained that president-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election. 

President Donald Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said Monday that he is directing his team to co-operate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight. 

The move clears the way for the start of the transition from Trump’s administration and allows Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20. 

An official said Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Biden’s victory Monday.

And today, Biden is preparing to formally announce his national security team to the nation. 

Those being introduced during an afternoon event are among Obama administration alumni whose roles in the upcoming administration signal Biden’s shift away from the Trump administration’s “America First” policies. 

The picks include former Secretary of State John Kerry to take the lead on combating climate change. Outside the realm of national security and foreign policy, Biden is expected to choose former Fed chair Janet Yellen as the first woman to serve as treasury secretary.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

China’s latest trip to the moon is another milestone in the Asian powerhouse’s slow but steady ascent to the stars. 

China became the third country to put a person into orbit a generation ago and the first to land on the far side of the moon in 2019. 

The Chang’e 5 mission, launched today, will be the first to bring back moon rocks and debris since a Soviet mission in 1976.

 Future ambitions include a permanent space station and putting people back on the moon more than 50 years after the U.S. did.

On this day in 2002 …

Quebec Premier Bernard Landry announced that the May 24th Quebec holiday, “La fete de Dollard,” would henceforth be known as “La Journee nationale des Patriotes.” The name was changed to honour the movement that contributed to the Rebellions of 1837-38 in Lower Canada and became an early symbol of French-Canadian nationalism.

In entertainment …

Anne Murray wasn’t sure her singing voice was still intact until a few months ago.

The famed Canadian crooner had left her most-cherished instrument largely unchecked while in retirement, aside from belting out a song here and there while doing household chores.

But last summer, she decided to dust off her guitar to see whether her trademark lush alto voice could still carry a tune.

Murray says she performed a few of her old songs “just for the fun of it,” and was pleased to learn her famous pipes are still humming.

The winner of 24 Junos and four Grammys swore off recording new music more than a decade ago, but she recently compiled several of her classic tracks for a new holiday album.

“The Ultimate Christmas Collection” brings together 22 songs pulled from Murray’s various Christmas albums, including “Joy to the World, “Blue Christmas” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” with Michael Buble.

ICYMI …

A Quebec municipality that had planned to cull about 15 white-tailed deer in the coming days relented late Monday amid pressure on officials to relocate the animals.

Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent said in a statement the threat of people intervening or attempting to thwart the cull has forced the city to consider other options. 

Parent noted the plan to capture and slaughter the deer, approved by Quebec’s Forests, Wildlife and Parks Department, was supported by a “broad consensus within the scientific community.”

But given the circumstances, she’s asking the city’s top civil servant to come up with a plan to move the deer from Michel-Chartrand Park to a sanctuary authorized by provincial officials.

Parent’s announcement came hours after an animal rescue group and a lawyer who champions animal rights urged the Montreal-area city to reconsider its plan to kill half the white-tailed deer in the park and donate the meat to a food bank.

The organization, Sauvetage Animal Rescue, along with well-known Montreal lawyer Anne-France Goldwater, had urged Parent to consider its own plan to relocate the animals to a sanctuary, free of charge.

Ultimately, the city relented but Parent said the deer situation would need to be resolved quickly.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta researcher gets award for COVID-19 mask innovation

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Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.

Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate from the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Alberta, said a mostly salt and water solution that coats the first or middle layer of the mask would dissolve droplets before they can penetrate the face covering.

As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, damaging the bacteria or virus within five minutes, Rubino said.

“We know that after the pathogens are collected in the mask, they can survive. Our goal was to develop a technology that is able to inactivate the pathogens upon contact so that we can make the mask as effective as possible.”

Rubino, who collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago, was recognized Tuesday with an innovation award from Mitacs. The Canadian not-for-profit organization receives funding from the federal government, most provinces and Yukon to honour researchers from academic institutions.

The reusable, non-washable mask is made of a type of polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, and could be safely worn and handled multiple times without being decontaminated, Rubino said.

The idea is to replace surgical masks often worn by health-care workers who must dispose of them in a few hours, she said, adding the technology could potentially be used for N-95 respirators.

The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval. It could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza, Rubino said.

Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the “exciting” technology would have multiple benefits.

Clase, who is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials in the engineering department at McMaster, said there wasn’t much research in personal protective equipment when Rubino began her work.

“It’s going to decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask,” she said, adding that the mask could also address any supply issues.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently recommended homemade masks consist of at least three layers, with a middle, removable layer constructed from a non-woven, washable polypropylene fabric to improve filtration.

Conor Ruzycki, an aerosol scientist in the University of Alberta’s mechanical engineering department, said Rubino’s innovation adds to more recent research on masks as COVID-19 cases rise and shortages of face coverings in the health-care system could again become a problem.

Ruzycki, who works in a lab to evaluate infiltration efficiencies of different materials for masks and respirators, is also a member of a physician-led Alberta group Masks4Canada, which is calling for stricter pandemic measures, including a provincewide policy on mandatory masks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

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