Calgary

24-year-old Calgarian named Everyday Political Citizen by Samara Canada

A 24-year-old Calgarian has been named an Everyday Political Citizen by civic engagement non-profit Samara Canada on Thursday.

Nabaa Alam says he hopes he can inspire people to tackle problems in new and innovative ways

Nabaa Alam, a 24-year-old Calgarian, was named an Everyday Political Citizen by civic engagement non-profit Samara Canada on Dec. 7, 2017. (Samara Canada)

A 24-year-old Calgarian has been named an Everyday Political Citizen by civic engagement non-profit Samara Canada on Thursday.

When Nabaa Alam was in his last year of chemical engineering studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, he was a student on a process design team working on a project sponsored by SBI BioEnergy that fractionated conversion products into renewable gasoline, diesel and bio-jet fuel.

SBI BioEnergy CEO Inder Pal Singh is the inventor and innovator of a process to convert canola oil into renewable gasoline, diesel and bio-jet fuel.

In March 2016, the Alberta government said it would give SBI BioEnergy $10 million from the carbon levy for a $20 million refinery that the company was building at the Edmonton Research Park.

At the time, the government said the investment was expected to pay off by reducing carbon emissions by 112,000 tonnes by 2020 — the equivalent of taking 23,000 cars off the road for a year. 

Shell purchased licensing rights for the biofuel plant in June 2017. ​The biofuel plant is currently designed to convert 10 million litres of canola oil each year, but Shell is hoping to do 240 million litres a year.

Alam currently works with Imperial Oil where he helps plants improve energy usage efficiency.

He told The Homestretch on Friday that his goal is to be a leader in the energy industry, and to find a balance between renewable energy and fossil fuels.

"I'm trying to improve the oil and gas industry and work with oil and gas companies to make sustainable ways of making energy affordable for everybody," he said. 

He said he hopes he can inspire people to tackle problems in new and innovative ways.

"It's everybody's responsibility, I don't think you have to be an elected official," he said.

"It's everybody's right and responsibility to make an impact on the world."

Alam said his inspiration and drive to accomplish so much at a young age come from his parents, who grew up in Bangladesh before immigrating to Canada.

He was short-listed for the prize by Senator Douglas Black, one of the jurors, along with Margaret Atwood, Rick Mercer, Desmond Cole and Preston Manning.

​With files from The Homestretch

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story may have given the impression that Nabaa Alam invented a process to convert canola oil into renewable gasoline, diesel and bio-jet fuel. In fact, the process was invented by SBI BioEnergy CEO Inder Pal Singh. When Nabaa Alam was in his last year of chemical engineering studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, he was a student on a process design team working on a project sponsored by SBI BioEnergy that fractionated conversion products into renewable gasoline, diesel and bio-jet fuel.
    Dec 11, 2017 11:40 AM MT