Lithium Producer in Central Alberta Aims for Net-Zero Facility

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Lithium Producer in Central Alberta Aims for Net-Zero Facility

Chris Doornbos has always been interested in energy systems, but it was hard to find opportunities in clean energy for geologists like him. Until he started thinking about lithium.

Lithium – soft, silvery-white alkali metal, similar to potassium or sodium – is one of the main components of batteries, and a crucial resource for the energy storage industry.

In 2014, Chris began looking for lithium projects, first in South America, which supplies about 75 per cent of the world’s lithium, as well as in the U.S. and Australia. Then, he came across a report from the Government of Alberta about lithium, and discovered the availability of an unexplored, underappreciated asset right in his own backyard.

Decentralized energy is the future, and that will need efficient batteries.
— Chris Doornbos

“The ground wasn’t owned by anyone, so we went in and picked it up,” said Doornbos, who went on to found a lithium development company, now known as E3 Metals Corp, where he is the CEO. “We have literally developed this project from nothing.”

The Leduc Formation was first explored for oil and gas in the 1940s and led to the oil rush in central Alberta. Over the past 70 years, more than 3,000 wells have been drilled in the area. Because of the existing wells – as well as collaborative relationships with other companies working in Leduc Formation reservoirs – no further drilling or land disturbance has been needed for E3 Metals to develop their lithium project.

“As a mineral company, the biggest expense you have is drilling and we haven’t needed to do that,” said Doornbos.

Based on their sampling, the company estimates there is 6.7 million tonnes of lithium in the reservoirs of the Leduc Formation, making it one of the largest sources of lithium in the world.

The standard process for extracting and producing lithium relies on huge evaporation ponds, taking 18 to 24 months to concentrate lithium to a point where it can be refined. What makes E3 Metals unique is that, using a chemical filter process called Ion Exchange, they have developed a method to concentrate lithium in only three hours. Not only is it fast, it is also likely inexpensive compared to the evaporation process, and removes 99 per cent of the impurities found in lithium brine.

In addition to speed, the lithium brine extracted is hot, and could be used to produce geothermal power to run the process. E3 Metals hopes to make their facility net-zero, and in doing so create the an environmentally friendly source of lithium.

“We have the potential to be a near zero-greenhouse-gas lithium producer,” said Doornbos.

The company is still in the development stage, to date achieving a 20x concentration in lithium with their process. They hope to soon have a demonstration of this process and then plan to build a pilot plant facility in the field this year.

With an increase in electric vehicles and energy storage, global lithium demand is expected to triple by 2025.

“Decentralized energy is the future,” said Doornbos. “And that will need efficient batteries.”


Learn more about E3 Metals Corp here.

For more information on clean tech projects and opportunities in Alberta, see our resources page.

Submit your own new energy story here.

Geothermal Innovation in Alberta

Geothermal innovation in Alberta

The world’s first geothermal power plant was completed in 1914 in Italy. Fast forward more than 100 years, and Canada still does not have a single large-scale geothermal facility. Alberta company Terrapin hopes to change that.

Geothermal energy is a form of renewable energy harnessed from converting heat stored deep underground into electricity. Terrapin plans to build an eight-megawatt geothermal power generation facility near Hinton, Alta.

Sean Collins has worked in sustainable energy for about a decade, beginning with co-founding Student Energy – a global non-profit energy organization – and working for clean-tech companies in the province. After the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan was released in late 2015, Collins said he knew the electricity sector would have to change significantly following the coal phase-out. He founded Terrapin, a company focused on transforming waste heat and geothermal heat into usable energy. Now, he is the company’s president.

By phasing out coal, more renewable energy will be needed to make up for the gap in electricity supply and demand. Much of Alberta’s renewable energy will come from wind and solar power, which are intermittent, only producing electricity when the wind is blowing or when the sun is shining. One of the advantages of coal is that it can produce electricity all of the time. An advantage of geothermal is that it too can produce electricity on demand.

There’s not much difference between drilling an oil well and drilling a geothermal well
— Sean Collins

In principle geothermal seems straightforward, but there are at least 27 different technologies used to transform heat to electricity. Depending on the situation and heat source, some technologies perform better than others. Terrapin’s role is bringing expertise and understanding to which solutions are ideal.

Collins sees geothermal as a natural fit for Alberta.

“There’s not much difference between drilling an oil well and drilling a geothermal well,” he said, explaining Alberta has a lot of expertise in building massive facilities, such as billion-dollar oil and gas refineries, and these skills are easily transferable to building large-scale geothermal facilities.

Many predictions on global energy show oil and gas will still play a role 30 years from now, but there will be a massive increase in renewables. Collins considers this balance of energy sources as crucial. He says creating sustainable electricity will allow our oil and gas to be used most effectively, instead of for nearly everything as it has been for decades.

The price on carbon pollution has created an additional focus on renewable energy innovation.

“Alberta may be building our last pipeline,” said Collins. “We need to dig in and see how we play in the new world.”

To achieve this shift to renewable electricity, he says Alberta needs to be more entrepreneurial and ambitious.

“We as a province need to raise our risk factor.”


Learn more about Terrapin here.

For more information on clean tech projects and opportunities in Alberta, see our resources page.

Submit your own new energy story here.

Elementary Students Conduct Their Own Lighting Audit

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Elementary Students Conduct Their Own Lighting Audit

At Hazeldean Elementary School in Edmonton, Grade 5 students created an energy efficiency program through the Innovative Elementary Program. The students were able reduce the energy consumption and cost of lighting at their school and teach other students and teachers about energy efficiency.

“Elementary kids are often overlooked about their ability to make changes and advocate to the things that they care about,” said Grade 5 teacher James Stuart, who manages the Innovate Elementary Program at Hazeldean. This project is one of many ways students have demonstrated the impact they can have in their school community.

They were able to go out into the school and make a measurable difference. [There were] real reductions and it was really rewarding for the kids.
— James Stuart

The first step was to learn about electricity, energy efficiency and light bulbs. Stuart along with some energy experts taught the students about different kinds of light bulbs and how much energy is used for each. They also learned about electricity, how it is produced in Alberta and the environmental impacts of the different types of production.

Next, students used their new knowledge to calculate their school’s electricity consumption by determining the types and consumption of light bulbs, and the number of each type of bulb throughout the building. From there, they monitored how many lights were on in each classroom, checking in at various times of the day to determine when classes were in session, when they were empty, and at the end of the day.

After collecting data, the students had to decide how they would present it. To make their information accessible to everyone, including the youngest students, they used made posters with photos and simple info boxes to teach their peers about the energy consumption of objects in their classroom. They included images of smart boards, desktop computers and lights with the amount of energy each consumed. The posters were distributed throughout the school.

The students also decided to create a contest for the classroom who was able to reduce their lighting energy consumption by the greatest amount. Using the information they had about each room’s energy consumption, they created a poster for each classroom showing its energy consumption. They continued to monitor the energy consumption of each classroom at random times until the end of the contest, with the winners earning hot chocolate made from the students’ self-made solar oven.

At the end of the lighting audit the Grade 5 group presented their findings during the school’s morning announcements. Over that time, they saw a reduction of 40 kWh. That is the equivalent of a 43-inch’ plasma TV running 32 hours a week for a month.

Through this project the students in Stuart’s Grade 5 classroom educated themselves, creatively engaged their school on the topic of energy efficiency, and were able to make changes in their school’s lighting electricity consumption.

“They were able to go out into the school and make a measurable difference,” said Stuart. “[There were] real reductions and it was really rewarding for the kids.”


For more information on education projects and opportunities in Alberta, see our resources page.

Submit your own new energy story here.

Calgary passive house has no furnace, good to -30

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Calgary passive house has no furnace, good to -30

When you step into the Brookfield Symons Gate Passive House in Calgary, Alta., the front door closes with a sound that makes you feel like you have just entered an airtight vault. And then you are greeted by the sounds of silence.

The sounds of the outside world vanish within the heavily insulated walls of this gorgeous, 2,400 square home. You don’t even hear the hum of a fan, because there’s no furnace.

The walls are solid cross-laminated wood, the basement floor feels like it’s heated, and the windows are triple-glazed energy-efficient Austrian models that tilt and swing open.

This is the Tesla of passive homes

“Passive house takes advantage of one of the most abundant resources that Alberta has, which is the sun,” says Doug Owens, senior director of strategic development and regulatory affairs with Brookfield Residential, North America’s sixth largest developer.

This ultra-efficient house uses 90 per cent less energy than a conventional home. An eight-kilowatt solar system on the roof provides nearly all of the energy required to power and heat the home. It has no gas connection.

“And the giant window in the middle is actually the furnace for the house,” says Owens, pointing to the massive, south-facing window that lets the passive solar heat stream in. The window’s R7-rated triple glazing helps trap the warmth inside.

“Air tightness is critical,” says Owens, but even though this home is rated as super airtight–just 0.5 air exchanges per hour–it gets plenty of fresh, clean, filtered air.

Instead of a furnace, the home has a heat recovery ventilator—a fancy name for an air exchange system that recovers 86 per cent of the heat from the outgoing air. Built into the ventilation system is a 3,000-watt electric heater—but it only kicks in on the coldest, darkest days of winter.

This Zender ventilator is actually called an energy recovery ventilator because it also has an active bypass system that stops scavenging warm air on hot summer days, helping cool the home.

When you head downstairs, most people ask if the floor is heated—it has eight inches of insulation beneath it and it feels quite warm. The mechanical room is nearly empty, with just the air exchange system and a super energy efficient electric water heater.

Sixteen-inch walls – No furnace!

This minimalistic system is made possible thanks to out-of-this-world levels of insulation in the home.

“It’s incredibly well insulated,” explains Owens. “The windows are R7 and typical windows are about R2; the wall systems are R45 compared to an effective R18 that is required, and the roof system is R55 compared to a cathedral ceiling which we’re required to have R10.”

Add the thickly insulated basement floor, and you have an unbroken envelope of insulation blanketing the home.

Brookfield viewed the Symons Passive House as a chance to innovate. You could use thick double-stud walls for the insulation, but Dean Guidolin (design manager at Brookfield) says they opted to use solid cross-laminated timber (CLT). The custom walls were built in a special panelization factory in Germany.

Matt Arsenault of Sawback Builders shows the super-insulated 16-inch wall system. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

Solid wood walls

Brookfield designer Dean Guidolin says CLT is environmentally friendly. Behind him is the large window that is a key part of the passive house design. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

CLT is a great, sustainable resource, says Guidolin. “The wood fiberboard on the outside is a byproduct of the manufacturing process for the CLT. Ultimately you get another good environmental story out of that.”

Matt Arsenault, president of Sawbuck Builders (the company that assembled this unique home) describes the CLT system in detail. “It is four inches thick timber that’s been glued and laminated together and it creates the structure of the wall,” says Arsenault. Then add 9.5 inches of solid wood fiber insulation and another 1.5-inch layer of wood-based insulation and you have 16-inch thick walls that lose almost no heat.

Arsenault says the pre-built walls, floors, and ceilings came in a sea container along with some IKEA-like instructions in German to put it all together.

“I learned a lot about how the energy loss happens in a typical house, through air leakage and things like that. And this method of construction really eliminates a lot of the opportunity for outside cold air to come in and cool down the house,” says Arsenault.

Beautiful research – into an energy efficient future

Master bedroom in the Symonds Passive House. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

Owens says Brookfield didn’t aim for an inexpensive passive home, but rather chose to explore new systems and build a truly great home. “I was just thrilled to see people walk in, and when they open it open the door their jaw drops at how beautiful the home is,” says Owens.

Before tackling the project, Owens himself took a course in passive house building. He believes code changes are coming, and homes may have to be net-zero-ready as early as 2030. He wants to keep Brookfield ahead of the trend.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s Alberta, Canada or North America,” says Owens. “Globally, there’s a conversation around energy efficiency, resiliency, and conservation. There’s a tremendous amount of momentum behind it.”

Push for quality and performance

The components of this solid CLT home were built in a panelization factory. Photo Brookfield Residential

Owens says public attitudes are also pushing the shift. “I think people are starting to think about the environment more.” Where yesterday’s customers may have been fixated on granite counters and hardwood floors, many home buyers today have questions about energy efficiency.

Brookfield’s first passive home was not cheap to build, but Owens says they learned a lot. He believes the move toward prefabrication will help ease labour shortages, increase quality, and meet higher efficiency standards.

“I think that’s really going to drive down prices and then they will become commonplace,” says Owens.

If you think this home would be a sight to see, we have good news: you can see it. “It’s going to open through 2019 for booked tours,” says Owens. “We’re going to try to have it open the first Friday of every month. We want to get as many professionals, industry partners, and government folks through.”

Brookfield clearly aims to be an active force in passive technology.

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This story was originally published on Green Energy Futures.

Learn more about Brookfield’s passive house, here.

For more information on energy efficiency in Alberta, see our resources page.

Submit your own new energy story here.

Project Footprint Helps Young Newcomers Take the Lead

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Project Footprint Helps Young Newcomers Take the Lead

Project Footprint is a program aimed at young newcomers to Canada, offering environmental programming at a school and housing development in Calgary. The program, run by the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA), combines its programming and expertise to reach girls aged nine to 13 with environmental sustainability content.

Project Footprint, now in its third year, came about as a way to encourage and engage young immigrant girls in the global conversation about the environment and climate change, said Project Footprint’s program coordinator Amarjit Parmar.

We wanted to start the program up to get the conversation going, and develop some leadership skills in the girls to let them be global ambassadors
— Amarjit Parmar

“We wanted to start the program up to get the conversation going, and develop some leadership skills in the girls to let them be global ambassadors,” said Parmar.

 There are two parts to the program: regular weekly events with guest speakers, which focus on a wide range of environmental and sustainability topics. In addition, a mentorship program is held twice a month and connects the Project Footprint participants with older students, who work together to create and run sustainability projects.

Project Footprint participants also share their work with their community and peers. At CIWA’s annual youth forum the girls taught participants how to make reusable plastic wrap replacement using beeswax, coconut oil and fabric. Another year they flexed their green thumbs, teaching participants about gardening.

 The team mentorship projects vary each year depending on the interests of the participants. In the past, the young girls have run recycling programs, worked to reduce their plastic waste, and started an upcycling project to turn used clothing into new items.  

 “It was fantastic to see,” said Parmar about the upcycling project, which ended with a grand finale fashion show at school to show off the clothing they had redesigned. “The kids were so creative – they took shirts and made them into handbags.”

 The creativity and passion put into their projects may be fueled by the freedom and ownership they have. Parmar said the projects are based entirely on what the girls want to do, from conception to execution, while the youth mentors are there to support the implementation of the ideas and the creativity.

 “We are a girl’s program at heart,” said Parmar. “So self-confidence, sense of belonging and encouraging leadership is all there.”


For more information on education projects and opportunities in Alberta, see our resources page.

Submit your own new energy story here.

aGRO Systems Redefines the Role of Waste

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aGRO Systems Redefines the role of waste

Victoria Ross’s father has been a beef cattle rancher for almost 50 years, and she grew up on the ranch. And she knows that hard work doesn’t always pay the bills.

“On top of all the hard labour intensive farm work, [my father] was also doing a fulltime night job… He had to do both jobs to pay the bills,” said Ross, the founder of aGRO Systems.

In university, Ross started researching Canadian farmers, to see if other families experienced similar struggles. She found that around half of all Canadian farmers need a second job to make ends meet.

“[So many] of the people working to put food on our plates cannot afford to put food on their own plates.”
— Victoria Ross

Using her familiarity with Canadian farming and land sustainability, Ross started looking at the applications and possibilities for waste in farming. This inspired her to start aGRO Systems.

Alberta is Canada’s largest beef producer and, as such, also the largest beef manure producer. aGRO systems began with the aim of making this waste into something useful: electricity and fertilizer. Both are major expenses for farmers. This could be achieved with an onsite machine to capture the methane from the manure while converting to fertilizer. The methane could then be used for some basic power needs in the barns, while the fertilizer goes to farmers’ crops, making waste into a multipurpose asset. While working to make this system efficient and affordable, Ross came across another pressing waste problem, this time in the brewing industry.

A local brewery approached aGRO to figure out what to do with the by-product of the brewing process – spent grain. Viewed as waste by breweries, spent grain can be used as animal feed. Ross did some research and found that in the brewing process, “all of the sugars are extracted and what is left is a high-fibre and high-protein meal.”

In taking on this waste, aGRO could provide a service to local breweries and farmers, as well as the environment, since they are able to provide a cost-efficient solution for both, while making use of something that is traditionally thrown away.

In the future, aGRO Systems hopes to continue developing cost-effective models of the systems they created, with the aim of supporting Alberta’s producers in reducing both waste and their costs, while generating energy.

Ross’s enterprise is the perfect example of a young Albertan innovator confronting local problems and using the principles she was raised on to generate a win-win solution.


Learn more about aGRO Systems, here.

For more information on bioenergy in Alberta, see our resources page.

Submit your own new energy story here.

Students on Sustainability helps add environment to elementary education

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Students on Sustainability

Students on Sustainability is a group of university students in Calgary working on bringing more environmental education to Alberta classrooms.

Growing up in Calgary and going through the public school system, the group’s founder Patrick Duke felt as though he had received a quality education, but found climate change wasn’t thoroughly included in his schooling. Even when it was, he said, it wasn’t multidisciplinary, it was often rushed, and was usually only offered within a higher level science course.

“Your grades should not hold you back from this kind of education,” said Duke, “from being aware and being environmentally conscious.”

Environmental education shouldn’t be something only for some students. Duke sees climate change as a topic that should be “for everyone – in science, the humanities and option classes throughout a student’s education.”

In his own education, Duke saw the effects of learning more about climate change in his first year of university. Duke enrolled in the petroleum geology program, “because my parents, my neighbors, and my friends all worked in oil and gas.” But when he started learning more about climate change in one of his first-year courses, he changed programs.

Climate change is happening and it is something students need to be informed about so that they can think about it when picking a career for the future.
— Patrick Duke

“Climate change is happening and it is something students need to be informed about, so that they can think about it when picking a career for the future,” he said.

With Students on Sustainability, Duke hopes their lessons will “open up perspectives and career choices that a student wouldn't think of otherwise as an option.”

Duke founded Students on Sustainability in December of 2017, and started to collaborate with education groups to generate content that meets the regular requirements of Alberta lesson plans, but with a slight spin on sustainability. By the end of January the group had 28 volunteers trained to give curriculum-based lessons across Calgary, and hopes to soon expand their reach across the province.

One group Students on Sustainability works with is the Alberta Council on Environmental Education (ACEE), which helps connect students to its network of teachers. From February to June last year, Students on Sustainability delivered a total of 35 school presentations and participated in several events, reaching some 1,500 kids in their first few months of outreach.

Students on Sustainability allows for younger students to learn about sustainability from a university student who is engaged and passionate about what they are doing. Duke said that this dynamic is key to their success.

“It’s impactful,” he said. “The students often look up and connect to the university students. Having that different perspective in the classroom is great.”

Learn more about Students on Sustainability, here.

For more information on environmental education in Alberta, see our resources page.

Submit your own new energy story here.

Transforming Garbage into Clean Fuel

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Transforming Garbage into Clean Fuel

What happens to waste we can’t recycle or compost? In much of the world, it’s destined for a landfill or incinerator. In the landfill, waste emits methane, which is about 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. Incinerating garbage can be used to generate electricity, but that also emits large amounts of greenhouse gases.

Canadian company Enerkem is changing that. It took 15 years of research for the Chornet family, who founded the company back in 2000, to develop a unique world-leading technology. After creating a pilot and small-scale demonstration plant, the stage was set to build an industrial-scale operation. Enerkem’s Alberta Biofuels facility opened in 2015 in Edmonton, the world’s first commercial scale facility to produce clean energy from waste.

Around this time, the City of Edmonton was looking into more ways to divert waste away from their landfill. The landfill was nearing capacity, and even though Edmonton had a strong recycling and composting program, only 50 per cent of its waste was being diverted from the landfill.

At first, the biofuels facility turned garbage into methanol, a flammable liquid used in hundreds of household products like paint, glue, automotive parts and textiles. Enerkem recently upgraded the facility to be able to also produce ethanol, which is used as a biofuel and can be mixed with gasoline.

The facility can divert 100,000 tons of garbage from the Edmonton landfill each year, and creates 40 million liters of ethanol from that process.

Edmonton is seen as a flagship.
— Pierre Boisseau, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing

“Edmonton is seen as a flagship,” said Pierre Boisseau, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing at Enerkem. “The Government of Alberta and the City of Edmonton are being recognized for their leadership from an environmental standpoint.”

Boisseau promotes Enerkem’s technology to a diverse audience to gain visibility and awareness. The response to this facility has been very positive, he said, both in Edmonton and around the world, adding that because their technology compliments instead of competes with recycling and composting, cities have been quick to embrace it.

Enerkem is now getting attention from across the world, from other cities and countries interested in turning landfill waste into usable fuel. The next Canadian facility Enerkem is building will be in Montréal, and there are other potential projects including in the Netherlands, Spain, the U.S. and China.


Learn more about Enerkem’s Alberta Biofuels facility, here.

For more information on bioenergy in Alberta, see our resources page.

Submit your own new energy story here.

Lending the youth voice to sustainable city planning

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Lending the youth voice to sustainable city planning

Teenagers may seem like an unlikely crowd to be shaping city planning, but they are proving to be key players and an important voice.

“It’s our future too!” said Logan Fechter, a member of the City of Edmonton Youth Council (CEYC), an advisory committee for the city council that aims to represent the interests of Edmontonians between 13 and 23 years old. “It’s our kids’ future, so why not? ... It’s not like sustainability has to be outside of our reach.”

CEYC has several subcommittees that deal with hands-on work and draft many of the policy proposals put forward by the youth council as a whole. The urban and regional planning subcommittee focuses on topics such as transportation, infrastructure and sustainability, with the broader aim of helping to build the identity of Edmonton and its sustainable future.

This 16-member subcommittee has been pushing boundaries for three years, with projects like City Hall Solar, where it made a recommendation to council to put solar panels on city hall. The group was given the go ahead to work with city officials and engineers to determine the feasibility of this project. In the end, the group also learned not every good idea leads to an attainable project – the proposal was found to be outside of the budget due to cogeneration regulations and charges around the downtown area.

There is something special about urban planning because the work is physical and the outcomes do literally change the city, which is incredibly fulfilling.
— Logan Fechter

“There is something special about urban planning because the work is physical and the outcomes do literally change the city, which is incredibly fulfilling,” said Logan Fechter. “Even if it's as simple as giving feedback on a transit strategy, you are still bringing the youth perspective in to change the everyday reality of city life.”

Indeed, the subcommittee recently worked with the Edmonton transit system to collect feedback from 600 youth on the city’s new transit strategy so young people could weigh in on the issues that affected them.

“[If we] help make our transit system better, people won’t have to drive to all the places where they want to go,” said Kaelin Koufogiannakis, co-chair of the subommittee.

The group has also collaborated with the Change for Climate Edmonton conference to mount the “Sustainability of Tomorrow” youth speaker series, showcasing eight young adults leading their communities in sustainability.

Youth are and should be taking action on these issues and making an impact in their city. While the CEYC focuses on a range of topics, Koufogiannakis said a primary aim is to show council the youth of Edmonton really do care about sustainability.

“Youth are creative, innovative, and we are not buried by a bureaucratic need to check all of these boxes. So we can move things forward, add a new perspective and be an asset,” said Koufogiannakis.

In the future, CEYC’s urban planning subcommittee will support the efforts of City Lab, serve as the youth advisor for the new Edmonton Master City Plan and, as always, continue to give youth an opportunity to advocate for and create projects around the urban planning issues they care about.


Learn more about the City of Edmonton Youth Council, here.

For more information on how to undertake your own clean tech project, check out the resources page.

Submit your new energy story here.


You Can Go Far with GoElectric

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You Can Go Far with GoElectric

After seeing an article about Tesla and electric vehicles (EV), Jim Steil realized this was the future. As both an electrical engineer and a “bit of a car guy,” he decided he was going to be part of that future. Six weeks after reading the article, he was laid off from his oil patch job; he decided the time was ripe to pursue his new dream.

His original plan was to convert classic cars into electric vehicles. The first vehicle Steil set about converting was his 1966 Volvo, his “eVolvo” as he called it. Word of his plans soon spread, and requests poured in from locals, many wanting their commuter cars converted, or wanting to know what would be involved in converting it themselves. However, delivering a safe, reliable, high-quality final product requires a lot of time and expensive parts, like Tesla batteries for example.

After more research, Steil and his partner, David Lloyd, found the best option for most folks was simply to buy an EV, and the idea of GoElectric was born. GoElectric is the first exclusively electric vehicle dealership in Alberta, and only the second in Canada.

GoElectric imports used EVs from California. Because of government incentives in California encouraging consumers to purchase new electric vehicles, many lease a new EV for two years, then upgrade. This leaves a bounty of unwanted almost-new electric vehicles.


“Two-year-old EVs cost less than half as much as buying them new,” said Steil.


Many of the used cars at GoElectric are priced under $20,000, with the low-end closer to $15,000. Even a high-end electric BMW with improved range comes in about $30,000, compared with the $65,000 price tag to drive it off the lot brand new.

Thanks to their reliability and incredible efficiency – accentuated by high gas prices versus Alberta’s cheap electricity rates – electric vehicles can be as much as 10 times cheaper to drive than a gas-guzzler. Steil spends $20 a month on electricity for his electric vehicle and drives 80 km each day.

Along with sales staff, GoElectric also employs mechanics trained to service EVs, although one of the benefits of electric vehicles is their low maintenance demands. Of the 10 most common repairs to conventional gas cars, none apply to EVs. In addition to the cost savings, electric vehicles are much more responsive and quieter. But Steil encourages people to test drive an EV to find out for themselves, and get what is known in the industry as “the EV grin.”

Steil and Lloyd are confident they will meet their goal to sell 200 EVs per year. They also want to add 70kW of solar panels to the roof of the dealership to power a quick charging station for electric vehicles.

But their aspirations don’t stop at the used EV dealership: they still want to help people convert their cars, bikes, quads and boats to electric, and will be opening a 7,000 sq. ft. space in the dealership’s basement, dubbing it The GoElectric EV Underground Makerspace.

 “To continue converting our own vehicles, and help others convert their vehicles themselves is where our real passion lies,” said Steil.


Learn more about GoElectric here.

For more information on how to undertake your own clean tech project, check out the resources page.

Submit your new energy story here.