NRC leading environmental research
Climate change will drastically increase the severity of many of the world's most pressing environmental issues. At the National Research Council of Canada, we are committed to fighting climate change and addressing major Canadian and international environmental challenges.
Research on climate change mitigation and adaptation, environmental protection and clean technologies, are priorities for the NRC. Every year, our scientists publish over 100 peer-reviewed articles related to climate change and the environment.
Find out more about our work to fight climate change and protect the environment on this page.
Our clean tech programs
Our focus is on the deployment of clean technologies in Canadian businesses and communities. Read our 2021 stories.
- Reducing energy consumption with lighter vehicles
- The future of green transportation
- Sustainable grown-in-Canada pulses
- Sustainable forest management
- Lowering our carbon footprint
Reducing energy consumption with lighter vehicles
The Advanced Manufacturing program team is leading the Canadian Lightweight Initiative on Polymer Glazings.
Known as CLIP Glazings, this initiative gathers partners from industry across the transportation supply chain and the public sector to develop high performance polymers to replace conventional glazings for cars and buses, made from tempered or laminated glass.
The use of lighter and more durable material makes it possible to reduce the weight of vehicle glazings by around 50%, which improves energy efficiency for both combustion engine and electric vehicles.
The future of green transportation
24% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions come from everyday transportation-related activities. The electrification of public transportation is an important step to meet national sustainability goals while targeting one of the largest sources of GHG emissions.
In collaboration with Transport Canada and the Toronto Transit Commission, the Automotive and Surface Transportation Research Centre is conducting North America's largest electric bus trials in the City of Toronto. This research brings Canada closer to a green public transit system.
Sustainable grown-in-Canada pulses
Pulses grown in Canada are considered sustainable, and assessing Canadian pulse processing methods to limit water use, improve energy efficiency and reduce negative impacts on the environment requires credible and representative data.
The NRC's Aquatic and Crop Resource Development Research Centre, in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, are creating a national life cycle inventory database, which will include pulse proteins like beans, lentils and peas. Pulse processing companies will help generate industry-level datasets and confidential sustainability assessments.
This database will enable life cycle analysis with the help of McGill University to identify sustainability gaps and process improvements to support both environmentalism and economic development.
Sustainable forest management
Sustainable forest management requires high-quality information on tree species, biomass and growth rates. The ability to do this is limited not by data, but by the ability to extract this information from very large, complex datasets.
The NRC's Digital Technologies Research Centre, through the Digital Health and Geospatial Analytics Supercluster Support program is working on deep learning algorithms that can extract this information from a wide range of remote sensing and other geographic data. This work has the potential to improve forest management practices and measure the impacts of climate change.
Lowering our carbon footprint
Canada has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
To help meet this goal, the NRC's Construction Research Centre and Energy, Mining and Environment Research Centre lead the Low-carbon assets through life cycle assessment initiative, a collaboration between federal government departments, academia, non-government organizations, industry and low-carbon asset experts from across Canada.
The initiative aims to develop a science-based approach for supporting the selection of construction materials and designs that offer the lowest carbon footprint with the lowest total cost.
NRC environmental research and clean technology success stories
Climate change mitigation
- Would you like a side of plastic with your meal?
- All aboard: Vessels sail into greener territory with NRC data analytics
- The mission: reducing GHG and black carbon emissions, decreasing the environmental footprint and improving air quality - National Research Council Canada
- Hydrogen production without GHGs
- Self-driving labs for gold-powered electrofuels
- The National Research Council of Canada investigates aircraft contrails from sustainable aviation fuels
- The mission: reducing GHG and black carbon emissions, decreasing the environmental footprint and improving air quality
- NRC research for NB Power accelerates energy savings
- Battling the headwinds of climate change with electric aviation
Climate change adaption
- The NRC's BEAST gives Arctic wastewater a clean slate
- Integrating climate resilience into building and design guides, standards and codes through the Climate Resilient Buildings and Core Public Infrastructure (CRBCPI) Initiative
- Using wetland vegetation to support coastal resilience
- Advancing Canada's aquaculture into the future
- Managing stormwater to improve Canadian cities' safety and resilience
- Living breakwaters
- Measuring toxins produced by cyanobacteria to protect our waters
- Studying the stars, nurturing the Earth: wildfire management at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
- Hold your breath: Metrology discovery about ash in soot informs understanding about potential health effects associated with air quality
- Improving shoreline's accessibility through coastal engineering
- Laboratories Canada supports NRC solution to real-time environmental monitoring
- New research quantifies environmental risks of military smoke grenades
Clean energy capabilities and resources
NRC environmental research through the years
- Making a difference on climate change (Annual Report 2019-2020)
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