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…
Reid Miller, Lukasz Golab, & Catherine Rosenberg
The theory behind time-of-use electricity pricing is simple. Charge more for electricity when demand is highest, and consumers will either reduce the amount they use or shift their consumption to a lower-cost time of day. However, quantifying that impact isn’t so simple.
Yes, you can compare electricity consumption before and after time-of-use pricing is introduced. However, weather changes from year to year, affecting how much people use fans, air conditioners, furnaces and space heaters.…
Michael Fowler, Ushnik Mukherjee, Sean Walker, Azadeh Maroufmashat, Abdullah Alsubaie, Daniel Van Lanen & Ali Elkamel
Power-to-gas systems may offer the energy storage solution the green energy sector has been searching for, allowing grid managers to match supply and demand. The process uses surplus electricity produced by wind and solar power to split water into oxygen and hydrogen.
That hydrogen then can be injected into existing natural gas distribution lines — providing customers with cleaner, hydrogen-enriched natural gas — or converted back to electricity when the grid needs it hours, weeks or months.…
Michael Fowler, Manoj Mathew, Q.H. Kong, Jake McGrory
Even rechargeable batteries eventually die. Month after month of using a battery, topping it up and repeating the cycle gradually reduces its ability to hold a charge and the amount power it can supply. That’s why electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers suggest replacing the battery pack when its storage capacity drops below 80 per cent of maximum, and have 8 year warranties.
WISE researchers envisioned a different approach. A battery is only as strong as its weakest cells, propose researchers in…
Mention hydro bills at any Tim Hortons in Ontario and you’re sure to set off a chorus of grumbling. Electricity rates in the province have skyrocketed in recent years. Today, they’re among the highest in Canada.
According to WISE researcher Anindya Sen, that’s due in part to the province’s High-5 program. Introduced in 2011, it provides incentives for large industries to reduce electricity consumption during the highest demand hours of the year.
Trimming peak consumption avoids the need to…
Yassir Alhazmi & Magdy Salama
There’s no question: electric vehicles are a greener choice than their gas-powered counterparts, producing less air pollution and greenhouse gases. But a major barrier to their adoption is limited battery range. If drivers want to use electric vehicles for anything more than short commutes or errands around town, they need a network of fast-charging stations.
So how do we go about building an effective one? Over the past few years, WISE researchers Yassir Alhazmi and Magdy Salama examined that…
Ian Rowlands & Paul Parker
Around the world, governments, utility companies and environmental organizations alike are encouraging consumers to use electricity more wisely. And with good reason. Reducing electricity consumption or shifting it to off-peak hours can cut greenhouse gas emissions, postpone the need for new generating stations and reduce the pressure on electricity grids.
What exactly does that look like at the household level? Three WISE researchers decided to find out.
Ian Rowlands, Paul Parker and Ivan…
The better you can optimize the flow of electricity in a power grid, the more energy you save and the fewer planet-warming greenhouse gases you generate. But that’s easier said than done.
Supply and demand fluctuate month by month, day by day and hour by hour. On top of that, there are a host of constraints to take into account. To date, no one has come up with an algorithm that can consistently find the optimal answer in every situation — at least, not in a reasonable length of time. Instead,…
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