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Departments & Programs


  • Life cycle assessment

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used to generate comprehensive measures of environmental impacts from producing a fuel, a product or a service. Our group builds LCA models of energy technologies.
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  • Energy systems optimization

    Optimization is used to choose technology configurations, designs, and operating conditions to achieve goals such as reduced cost and environmental impacts. Our group has applied optimization to carbon dioxide capture technologies and transportation fuels.
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  • Resource depletion and energy system transitions

    The depletion of conventional energy resources has led to the development of fossil-based substitutes for oil such as oil shale, tar sands, and coal- and natural gas-based synthetic fuels.  We examine the nature of resource depletion and the dynamics of these transitions.
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Welcome to the Environmental Assessment and Optimization Group

This Environmental Assessment and Optimization (EAO) Group focuses on building tools to reduce the environmental impacts of energy systems. The current group focus is on understanding greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from fossil energy systems.  Our approach includes building engineering-based bottom-up life cycle assessment (LCA) models to generate rigorous estimates of environmental impacts from energy extraction and conversion technologies.  Also, we build optimization tools to improve the environmental and economic performance of energy systems.

Our methods are applied primarily to transportation fuels, in an effort to understand and reduce the environmental impacts of conventional petroleum and substitutes for conventional petroleum (e.g., oil sands, oil shale).  We are also currently developing optimization capabilities for carbon dioxide capture and storage technologies.  A third area of interest is in the mathematical modeling of petroleum resource depletion and the shifts to alternative energy resources.


Englander paper: 2013 ERL Highlights

Jacob Englander's paper "Historical trends in greenhouse gas emissions of the Alberta oil sands (1970-2010)" has been selected as one of Environmental Research Letters top 25 "2013 Highlights" papers. Jacob's paper has been downloaded a total of 1557 times since November 18th 2013. 

Charles Kang presents poster at GHGT-11 in Kyoto

Charles Kang presented his poster entitled "Optimal heat integration in a coal-natural gas energy park with CO2 capture" at the 11th Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT) conference in Kyoto Japan.  This poster extends his previous work on optimal CO2 capture to optimize the detailed design, sizing, and operation of heat recovery equipment to supply solvent regeneration thermal energy requirements.

Jacob Englander presents at SETAC North America annual meeting

On November 15th, Jacob Englander presented his work on oil sands GHG emissions at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 33rd annual North American meeting in Long Beach CA.  This was the first presentation of historical GHG emissions estimates for the entire oil sands industry.