Latest blog posts

Posted on September 18th, 2019 – By David B. Layzell, Jessica Lof and Geoff Martin

On February 27 1892, Rudolf Diesel submitted his ideas for a “new, efficient, working engine” to the German patent office. A year later, he demonstrated a working model that achieved 26% efficiency, more than twice the efficiency of the steam engines of the day. His fuel of choice for these internal combustion engines (ICE) was distillate from oil refining, a fuel that was first called diesel in 1894

Posted on September 4th, 2019 – By Jessica Lof MSc and David B. Layzell PhD, FRSC

Last week, CESAR welcomed the Launch of the Transition Accelerator, highlighting its new methodology for building transformative pathways to a sustainable, low carbon future. This week, we release our first report (Figure 1) in our Future of Freight series, demonstrating how CESAR is using the Accelerator methodology to explore transitions pathways for the freight sector.

Posted on August 26th, 2019 – By David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC – Director, CESAR

CESAR welcomes the launch of The Transition Accelerator, a new pan-Canadian, non-profit organization that will accelerate changes in our human systems to solve major business or societal challenges, while also dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Accelerator will work with and across various sectors and regions of Canada to harness disruptive technology, business model or social innovations in a way that solves bigger system-level problems and builds pathways to a low-carbon economy. Led by President and CEO Dan Wicklum, PhD, the Accelerator will bring together industry, government, academia and other Canadians to co-create and implement “credible, compelling and capable” pathways to achieve societal solutions that include the transition to a low carbon pathway. Read the Interview with Dan Wicklum regarding why he took the job and his vision for the organization.

Posted on July 3rd, 2019 – By Adekunbi (Kunbi) Adetona, MSc, PAg, PhD Student

Comparing the carbon output of Canada's agri-food system with the nation’s crude oil recovery and processing system.

Posted on March 12th, 2019 – By Mark Lowey

An industry-led, $15-million project will test the ability of hydrogen to fuel the province’s heavy-duty freight transportation sector, a first step in exploring a potential made-in-Alberta hydrogen economy.

Posted on March 5th, 2019 – By David B. Layzell PhD, FRSC and Jessica Lof MSc

Three-quarters of the refined petroleum products from Alberta-produced oil ends up as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. In fact, Alberta’s oil provides ten times more transportation fuel to North American markets than that consumed within the province. Clearly, the province of Alberta is in the transportation fuel business.

Posted on November 26th, 2018 – By Mark Lowey, for CESAR

The Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) Initiative and the Fuse Collective student group at the University of Calgary presented a free public event, “Alberta in 2050: Visions for a Low-carbon Economy,” on September 25, 2018. The panel presentation, moderated by CESAR director David Layzell, was held on UCalgary campus and attracted more than 200 people.

Posted on March 28th, 2018 – By Jessica Lof and David B. Layzell

Unless an alternative, low-carbon solution can be found for Canada’s trucking sector, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from diesel fuel combustion will seriously undermine Canada’s efforts to achieve the 2030 and 2050 commitments made in the 2015 Paris climate change accord.

Those commitments include a 30% reduction in GHG emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, and what amounts to an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. Clearly, transformative – even disruptive – changes are required in the fuelling of freight transport in this country and across North America. 

Posted on February 13th, 2018 – By David B. Layzell

Canada needs a fresh approach and new tools for climate policy that will dramatically reduce emissions while maintaining economic prosperity.

The Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research Initiative (CESAR), in collaboration with the Institut de l’énergie Trottier at Polytechnique Montréal, has produced a new report, initiated by the Ivey Foundation, that makes the case for creating a new pan-Canadian organization to help Canada meet its environmental and economic goals. This organization would provide independent, evidence-based expert advice, new analytical tools and policy options to federal, provincial, territorial and municipal policy makers and the general public. The CESAR Scenarios report, Change Ahead: A Case for Independent Expert Analysis and Advice in Support of Climate Policy Making in Canada, which includes several recommendations, is available here.

Posted on January 29th, 2018 –

Energy systems are under intense pressure to change. Society wants major reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while retaining the benefits that energy systems provide to our quality of life.

Understanding the technologies, policies and behavioural changes needed to achieve these objectives can benefit from technology-rich, scenario modelling of energy futures. Computer modelling of complex anthropogenic systems can provide a powerful tool to generate evidence-based insights regarding the challenges and opportunities for systems change capable of realizing climate change objectives.

CESAR has been developing and using the database resources, modelling approaches and visualization tools to explore various energy futures. We are excited about the value of this work to policy and investment decision making.