UBC to develop post-consumer carbon-based products

The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus (UBCO) has received $1.9 million in federal funding to research how industrial waste can be converted into new products.

A new cleantech hub will be located in UBC’s Innovation Precinct, a 60-acre zone scheduled to open its first building in fall 2021.

UBCO will work with manufacturing, mining and lumber companies in Western Canada to develop methods that convert waste into high-quality carbon products. One example is the conversion of carbon collected during the recycling process of heavy industry vehicle tires into battery electrodes that power electric vehicles.

These new products have applications in both domestic and international markets and will open up new exporting opportunities for Canadian-made innovation.

Using industrial waste

Carbon-based materials have a number of applications, but most of these materials are derived from the mining, oil, and gas industries. Finding new, sustainable ways to create carbon-based materials from recycled products will help Canada lower its carbon emissions and reduce industrial waste.

“We are delighted that funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada will enable the creation of a new cleantech hub at the University of British Columbia Okanagan,” said Dr. Phil Barker, vice-principal and associate vice-president, research and innovation, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus.

“Our engineering researchers have established cutting-edge procedures for recovering and reusing carbon-based materials that would otherwise be discarded and creation of this new hub will allow us to accelerate work in this area, scale our partnerships with industry, and create technical training opportunities that will accelerate transition to a greener economy.”

This project will build on British Columbia’s reputation in the clean technology sector. It will create almost 50 jobs.

Established in 1908, UBC is a global centre for teaching, learning and research, consistently ranked among the top public universities in the world. It has more than 65,000 undergraduate and graduate students at its two major campuses in Vancouver and Kelowna.