Hyung-Sool Lee, Ziyi Xiong, and Abid Hussain
In North America, we throw out roughly 400 kilograms of food waste per person each year. The bulk of those potato peels and chicken bones ends up in landfills, where it creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Some municipalities take a greener approach. Some burn the methane to produce electricity, but that’s an expensive process. Others use anaerobic digestion to break down food waste, but the value of the resulting compost isn’t high.
Hyung-Sool Lee, director of the Waterloo…
Keith W. Hipel, Byomkesh Talukder, Gary W. vanLoon
Producing food consumes a lot of energy — and, as a result, creates a significant proportion of the world’s greenhouse gases. As the global population grows and the planet continues to heat up, it becomes more important than ever to produce food efficiently.
That’s why WISE member Keith Hipel, along with colleagues at York University and Queen’s University, recently scrutinized five different agricultural systems in coastal Bangladesh to compare energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.
Roydon Fraser, Michael Fowler, Satyam Panchal, Manoj Mathew, Ibrahim Dincer, Martin Agelin-Chaab
An electric vehicle (EV) is only as good as the battery that powers it. Battery performance drives vehicle performance and reliability — and ultimately the willingness of consumers to trade their conventional car for an electric version.
Various numerical models have been developed to predict the behaviour of batteries. But to be useful to EV designers, they have to reflect real-world conditions as accurately as possible. That’s where WISE researchers come in.
A team headed up by mechanical…
Zhongwei Chen, Zhen Zhang, Dan Luo, Gregory Lui, Gaoran Li, Gaopeng Jiang, Zachary Paul Cano, Ya-Ping Deng, Xiaojuan Du, Song Yin, Yifei Chen, Minhua Zhang, Zifeng Yan
To prevent global warming from reaching catastrophic proportions, we need to slash greenhouse gas emissions. The question is how. WISE researchers have a nano-sized solution: tiny balls that trap CO2 emissions within smokestacks before they wreak climate havoc.
For a number of years, investigators have recognized that porous carbon can adsorb CO2. Now a team led by Waterloo’s Zhongwei Chen has developed a way to maximize that useful property.
The researchers began by creating nanospheres…
When the three little pigs built their houses, their top priority was protection from a huffing, puffing wolf. But according to WISE member and civil engineer John Straube, the biggest concern when it comes to building performance is actually water.
In every climate zone on Earth, houses must be designed to handle moisture, whether it’s rain on the outside, condensation on the inside or leaks in the plumbing system.
In August, Straube shared the latest research on moisture physics at the 2018…
Blockchain can do more than drive cryptocurrency transactions, according to WISE researcher Srinivasan Keshav. The computer science professor also sees opportunity to let small-scale energy producers sell green electricity to the highest bidder.
Currently, a homeowner with a dozen photovoltaic panels on her roof has only one option for selling the electricity she produces: to the local utility at a price established by government.
But as Keshav points out, lots of companies are keen to prove…
Sahar Pirooz Azad and Dirk Van Hertem
Electricity is often generated hundreds of kilometres from where it’s consumed. (Think offshore wind farms and remote hydroelectric dams.) The most efficient and economical way to move electricity over those kinds of distances is through high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines — so-called “power superhighways.”
However, addressing faults like voltage or current spikes and short circuits is far more difficult in an HVDC grid than in a standard AC grid, because they travel so much…
Armaghan Salehian, David Nairn, Lan Wei, Hélène Debéda, Egon Fernandes, Blake Martin, Isabel Rua, and Sid Zarabi
As the electricity grid ages, blackouts become more likely. Placing sensors at strategic locations along transmission lines would allow grid managers to detect faults or fluctuations before they cause major headaches. However, powering those sensors with batteries would require replacing the batteries every couple of years — an expensive proposition when you consider the labour involved.
That makes the idea of self-powered sensors very attractive. Once installed, they would keep working, year…
Hassan Askari, Ehsan Asadi, Amir Khajepour, Mir Behrad Khamesee
The world is filled with ambient energy: stray heat, vibrations, electromagnetic fields and more that pulse all around us. Instead of letting those resources go to waste, WISE researchers are taking full advantage of them.
In the case of a team led by Waterloo mechanical and mechatronics engineering professors Amir Khajepour and Behrad Khamesee, that means designing a self-powered sensor that taps into two different forms of freely available energy.
One is movement. Hassan Askari a PhD student…
Mehrdad Kazerani, Mahmoud A. Allam, and Amr A. Hamad
Microgrids integrate small-scale electrical energy sources and energy storage systems into local electrical distribution grids. This modern concept facilitates the integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, for greener energy generation. Also, microgrids are potentially more reliable than conventional electrical distribution networks, because they can operate independently if disconnected from the main utility grid under any circumstance. As a result of their new…
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