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To improve renewable energy generation and power conversion, Martin Ordonez, Fred Kaiser Professor in Power Conversion and Sustainability at UBC is expanding a research and education program. This research is funded by a $ 1-million investment by the Fred Kaiser Foundation and will help store and use renewable energy. Ordonez said as Canadians are trying to reduce greenhouse emissions, the efficiency in generating energy is critical not only to them but also to the future on a global scale. The goal of this project is to derive maximum amounts of energy from sustainable resources in order to compete with hydrocarbon alternatives. To support this objective, at least five top-tier researchers are added, doubling the program’s current size. He said the main challenge is to change existing electrical infrastructure to support the expansion of low carbon energy sources like wind and solar. However, according to Ordonez developing countries have a different challenge to face. With a clean slate they can envision a better system by developing an electrical system with sustainable energy sources in mind The development of sustainable resources would be economically feasible for developing countries after research and testing. Ordonez said as part of the program, they will train graduate students and research professionals who will be skillful engineers  capable of tackling challenges associated with sustainable electrical energy. An outreach program will be planned to draw undergraduates from across the globe in different engineering disciplines. They will join a team of researchers investigating sustainable power solutions for developing countries.

Sustainability, Science, Innovation
Hannah Herbst, 15, from Boca Raton, Florida, might just be one of North America’s top young scientists. She won first place in the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientists Challenge along with a $25,000 prize – for creating an energy prototype probe that converts ocean currents into energy for just $12 – placing first out of nine other finalists. Herbst’s probe is made up of low-cost recycle materials creating a hydroelectric generator with a propeller – able to power a small LED light system. “I really want to end the energy poverty crisis and really help the other methods of renewable energy collection to generate more power and to make our world a better place for everyone,” Herbst says. She made the probe seeking to create a stable power source to developing countries by using ocean currents. It was inspired by Herbst’s desire to help her 9-year-old pen pal living in Ethiopia who lacks a reliable energy source. Marine current power is not widely used at the moment, but it has potential for electricity generation in the future. Marine currents are more predicable that solar and wind power. A 2006 report by the United States Department of the Interior estimated that capturing that 1/1000th of the available energy in the Gulf Stream would supply Florida with 35% of its electrical needs.