Jacqueline Llanos, Daniel E. Olivares, John W. Simpson-Porco, Mehrdad Kazerani and Doris Sáez
Microgrid managers face a big challenge: ensuring the smooth flow of electricity between intermittent energy sources (such as wind, solar and hydro), storage systems and energy users. WISE researchers want to help. John Simpson-Porco, Mehrdad Kazerani and their Chilean colleagues have developed a distributed control system that overcomes many of the weaknesses of existing models.
Distributed control systems serve as automated checkpoints and traffic police that help regulate frequency, manage…
Claudio Cañizares, Kankar Bhattacharya & Ivan Calero
Some days are windier than others. So when you’re relying on wind farms for electricity, you need a way to store unused energy, creating a buffer between supply and demand.
Compressed air energy storage (CAES) offers a solution. This approach uses excess energy to pressurize and cool air, storing it in underground caverns. When energy is needed, that stored potential can be released by heating and expanding the air.
The promise is strong. What has been lacking, however, are comprehensive…
Nicholas Mercer, Paul Parker, Amy Hudson, Debbie Martin
Of 259 off-grid communities in Canada, 190 depend almost exclusively on diesel to generate electricity. And although the majority of these communities identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis, little work has been done to understand Indigenous views on energy sustainability.
To help change that, the NunatuKavut Community Council partnered with WISE member Nick Mercer to undertake research in southeast Labrador into local perspectives on energy. Mercer teamed up with fellow WISE member Paul…
Amirreza Razmi, Madjid Soltani, Mohammed Tayefeh, Mohammad Torabi, and Maurice.B. Dusseault
Call it a double win. WISE researcher Maurice Dusseault and his Iranian collaborators have proposed a system that tackles two global imperatives: cutting carbon emissions and addressing water shortages at the same time.
Renewables like wind and solar offer green sources of electricity. But to be viable on a large scale, we need a way to store excess energy when production is high and demand is low. To achieve this, Dusseault’s colleagues in Iran (Dr. Madjid Soltani, the second author, is a WISE…
Talal Alharbi, Kankar Bhattacharya, and Mehrdad Kazerani
The battery in an electric vehicle (EV) faces serious performance demands every time the driver steps on the accelerator or the brake. So after a number of years, when its capacity has dropped 20 to 30 per cent, it gets replaced.
But that retired battery can still function well in less demanding applications — like stationary energy storage systems of microgrids — where the fluctuations in power/energy and charge are much smaller.
Because the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always…
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…
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