Hiral Jariwala

Role: HQP Scholar

Degree: PhD

Primary Faculty Advisor: Emily Yi Wai Chiang

Project: Carbon-sequestering Technology for Offsetting Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Reducing Fertilizer Requirements

Department: School of Engineering, CEPS

What inspired you to pursue your current degree? 

I always like to contribute my knowledge and expertise to a problem of cutting-edge research. Moreover, I like to be surrounded by academic minds and that would drive me for this opportunity.

What about your research area excites you? 

I am working on the development of carbon-sequestering fertilizer and it excites me because of how a small change in fertilizer composition can change the greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural activities.

What challenges do you find in your research, and how do you try to overcome them? 

Coming from an engineering background, I had difficulties understanding the basic concepts required for my research related to agricultural sciences. I enrolled in different courses at UofG and learned basics from my peers working in that area. I had lots of experimental failures during my research and learn from those failures and try not to do those mistakes again.

How would you describe your research and the implications of your project? 

My current research at the University of Guelph with Dr. Emily Yi Wai Chiang focuses on inorganic carbon sequestration through mineral carbonation in agricultural soil. This research will improve our understandings of the inorganic carbon-sequestering technology and reduce GHGs emissions from agriculture activities by lowering the fertilizer requirements. This research aims to develop a novel fertilizer that can permanently sequester carbon from the atmosphere, offsetting human activity-related greenhouse gas emissions and improve soil health simultaneously. This will be the first research project of its kind in Ontario. Detection and accounting of sequestered carbon will aid the development of a cap-and-trade carbon-credits policy.

What do you see as your next steps after completing your degree? 

I want to see myself in a role where I can contribute my knowledge and expertise to solve the existing problems in the agri-food sector.

What role has the HQP scholarship played in your academic journey so far?

Being recognized as a scholarship recipient has also given me extra confidence and motivation in my academic endeavours at the university. I learned about the knowledge mobilization in agri-food sector by taking the HQP course on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Agri-Food Systems. Moreover, the opportunity to collaborate with external project partners and peers has enhanced my communication and management skills. The most important things I learned during this course were how to write in plain language, opinion editorial and policy brief.

What are three of your favourite activities outside the lab? 

Outside my research work, I enjoy cooking, reading, and podcasting.

What is one important thing you have learned during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, I learned about podcasting and cooking. I have tried making few episodes using my podcasting gear and learned lots of cuisines at home.