Balpreet Kukreja

Balpreet Kukreja

The potential is yours.

When dealing with our world’s most difficult problems, there are two choices: Either giving up and admitting defeat, or believing in our potential to shape a different future. That choice is at the heart of UBC’s latest national advertising campaign, called ‘The potential is yours.

Meet Balpreet Kukreja, a student in the UBC Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL), Clean Energy Engineering program, who is featured in the campaign.

What drew you to your field of study?

A: I believe that one of the greatest challenges our civilization faces is finding effective ways to reduce climate change through clean energy production, storage and consumption. These practices are pivotal in allowing future generations to meet their needs without having to look back at our generation asking, “What were you thinking?”

What also excites me is that it’s fast becoming economically unfeasible to ignore clean energy. There is momentum in the field, and traditional fossil fuel companies are belatedly realizing they must evolve into clean energy companies if they’re to remain relevant.

It’s fast becoming economically unfeasible to ignore clean energy.

— Balpreet Kukreja
Is there a specific area of research that has caught your attention?

A: There are two areas of research that caught my attention.

The first, which potentially is the most impactful area of research, is fusion power. Fusion power is the generation of clean, unlimited electricity using an abundant fuel sources such as hydrogen. In theory, we may be roughly five decades away from a mass-scale fusion power plant. However, they unfortunately said this five decades ago. That said, knowing that this is something we can achieve should inspire us in continuing to research and striving to make it feasible.

The second area, which is the more novel area of research, is energy storage in gigantic, underwater concrete spheres that pump water in and out through a turbine to capture excess energy generated by off-shore wind turbines.

What are some problems you’d like to tackle, or to try and help solve?

A: One of the biggest opportunities I’d like to tackle is utilizing unused space, such as tops of buildings or large bodies of water, for solar panels tied to specific energy storage systems. Some would argue that these tactics are not suited for Vancouver due to the city’s high-rainfall. And yes, it rains a lot in Vancouver, but we get more sunlight than Germany, which has proven it can be done. What’s stopping us from achieving this as well?

How does UBC support you in realizing your greatest potential?

A: There are three key factors in how UBC helps me realize my greatest potential. The first being interacting with world-renowned faculty who enable students, such as myself, to unlock our full potential. The second being surrounded with talented, innovative and inspiring people from around the world with similar goals and ambitions.

Finally, UBC provides an environment that fosters entrepreneurship and a can-do attitude.

See Balpreet Kukreja in the campaign

‘The potential is yours’ campaign highlights the importance of UBC’s research and teaching mission, and demonstrates how the university is helping to address society’s largest challenges.