Mahesh Pandey & Bo Li
To ensure nuclear power plants are running safely, operators closely scrutinize a slew of different measurements, monitoring for any signs of wear-out. Take the example of the electro-hydraulic system controlling the plant’s turbines. Operators collect weekly samples of the control fluid, looking for an uptick in acids that indicate the fluid is starting to break down.
The problem is deciphering what are the important, underlying trends and what is simply noise in the data — short-term…
Roydon Fraser & 21 WISE Faculty Members
In April, Waterloo became the first Canadian university to install smart charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs). That’s good news for anyone on campus who wants to charge up for free. It’s even better news for the 21 WISE faculty whose research focuses on EVs.
Unlike regular chargers, these units optimize charging patterns based on demand levels and time-of-use electricity costs. They also collect a wealth of detailed data to help investigators shed light on critical issues of grid…
Omar M. Ramahi, Faruk Erkmen & Thamer S. Aloneef
All around us, energy currently goes to waste. At any given moment, billions of Wi-Fi antennas and TV and radio stations are filling the atmosphere with electromagnetic waves. By harvesting these waves and converting them into electricity, we could tap into a vast source of “free” energy.
The question is how.
WISE member Omar Ramahi, a professor in Waterloo’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is exploring the potential of frequency-selective surfaces (FSSs). Essentially, these…
Canadians burn a lot of fuel to keep our buildings warm in winter. WISE researcher Pooneh Maghoul believes a key way to cut heating bills and reduce our carbon emissions lies beneath our feet.
The geotechnical engineer set out to better understand the heating, cooling, freezing and thawing that occurs in the soil surrounding building foundations. These are processes that depend not only on air temperature and heat loss from the building but also on the level of moisture in the soil.
Jeff Gostick and Mahmoudreza Aghighi
WISE researcher Jeff Gostick can envision a day when clean, efficient fuel cells replace today’s internal combustion engines. These eco-friendly energy generators run on hydrogen and air. Best of all, they produce no greenhouse gases — only water.
Fuel cells are ideal for consumer vehicle applications, due to their long range and quick refueling times, but lack of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure has delayed their deployment in favor of battery powered vehicles. This has not been a…
David S. A. Simakov, Duo Sun, & Faisal M. Khan
The more carbon dioxide (CO2) we pump into the atmosphere, the hotter the planet will get. That’s why researchers around the world are looking for ways to transform those emissions into useful resources. One promising approach is to convert them into methane fuel, using a hydrogenation process called the Sabatier reaction.
In theory, it’s simple: just add hydrogen gas to CO2 in the presence of a catalyst. However, there are technical challenges. Because the process generates a lot of heat,…
Bharatkumar V. Solanki, Kankar Bhattacharya, & Claudio A. Cañizares
More than half of Canada’s 280 remote communities are cut off from centralized electricity grids, relying instead on high-polluting diesel generators. But as the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions grows, more and more of these isolated communities are searching for greener microgrid options that add renewable energy to the mix.
Waterloo engineering professors Kankar Bhattacharya and Claudio Cañizares are helping guide that search. Along with PhD student Bharatkumar Solanki, the WISE…
Ali Elkamel, William Anderson, Mohamed Elsholkami, Matthew Warren, Chu Huang, Sheryl Peters, Zhengkai Tu
Each year, a noxious haze blankets much of Indonesia. It’s the result of burning peatlands — the boggy land that covers more than ten per cent of the country. Farmers here have traditionally used slash-and-burn techniques to prepare land for planting, but the level of burning has increased dramatically as large areas are converted to industrial-scale palm oil plantations.
WISE researchers hate to see a valuable resource go up in smoke. So they’ve proposed a better idea: gasification.…
Ali Elkamel, Colin Alie, Peter L. Douglas, Eric Croiset
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an important tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired generating stations. CO2-scrubbing systems, for example, use solvents to pull carbon dioxide from the flue gas before it’s released into the atmosphere.
However, because it takes energy to regenerate the solvents used in the process, capturing carbon this way either reduces the power plant’s generating capacity or its efficiency, or both.
That’s why WISE faculty members Ali Elkamel,…
Andrew B. Northmore and Susan Tighe
Energy-generating highways are far from science fiction. Waterloo’s Centre for Pavement and Transportation Technology (CPATT) and other groups have already developed prototypes of modular road panels that can produce electricity thanks to embedded solar cells.
But can panels made of sensitive photovoltaic material and tempered glass withstand the impact of 18-wheelers or Toronto’s rush hour traffic?
To find out, WISE researchers Susan Tighe and Andrew Northmore conducted a finite element…
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