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May 17, 2018

Waste not, want not: Red River College and local microbreweries take an innovative approach to leftovers

Who knew there’s more to beer leftovers than what lingers in the bottom of a stubby at the end of a party? Red River College and two local microbreweries in Winnipeg teamed up make use of the spent grain that’s left at the end of the brewing process, in an experiment that shows how far a little imagination and innovation can go. Together, they made a new kind of miso — the thick paste that’s normally made from fermented soy beans and is a staple of Japanese cooking. Spent grain is a by-product of the brewing industry and generally used... Read more
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May 17, 2018

Floating islands — first responders in water reuse

Too much of anything can be bad, we’re told, and it’s certainly true of nutrients in water. Too many nutrients in rivers, lakes and ponds — often the result of runoff from nearby fields, towns and cities — can over-stimulate the growth of water plants, which in turn choke off oxygen and kill water creatures. The process is known as eutrophication. Lakeland College’s Centre for Sustainable Innovation is looking at the possibility of reducing the dangers of eutrophication by taking nutrients right out of the water, through an innovative method known as “floating islands.” This spring, the centre’s pond was... Read more
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May 17, 2018

Finding new ways to use an old crop: Jerusalem artichokes bloom again

You may know Jerusalem artichokes primarily as the towering yellow daisies that overflow gardens in August and September; for Alberta startup NovaGreen, their value lies in what you can’t see: the tubers they grow underground. Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes) are a native North American sunflower species that was prized for the food value of its tubers by indigenous people and credited with helping to keep early settlers alive. Exported to Europe, it became popular at first as food for humans but later was used mostly as animal feed. It fell out of favour in North America as well, until... Read more
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May 17, 2018

A barren patch of ground becomes a place to grow knowledge

Exposed soil — whether it’s left unprotected by farming, construction or industrial activity — has an increased risk of eroding. The environmental impact of erosion can include loss of farmland, sedimentation of waterways, reduced air quality, and, in severe cases, total abandonment of the land for any productive purpose. However, there are methods available to temporarily control erosion and minimize its environmental impact during construction and until permanent ground cover can be re-established. Lakeland College’s Centre for Sustainable Innovation became a candidate for temporary erosion control when a section of its grounds was left bare after a gasifier and solar... Read more
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May 17, 2018

Focused on power: researching a bright new way to use the sun’s energy

Focusing energy increases productivity: it’s true for people, so no surprise it’s true for the sun, as a unique device called a solar concentrator demonstrates. Lakeland College’s Centre for Sustainable Innovation site is now home to a solar concentrator prototype, which can concentrate the sun’s energy to temperatures in excess of 2,000 °C, hot enough to melt metal. The concentrator works by reflecting the sun’s light from one mirror to a curved mirror, which in turn concentrates the light into a focused circular beam aimed at a target. Controlling and directing the beam is done by tilting the mirrors and... Read more
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May 17, 2018

What goes around (water) comes around (as heat)

In February 2015, Lakeland College opened the doors of its new Bio-Energy Centre. The building features a micro cogeneration unit built by Yanmar Energy Systems Co. Ltd. of Japan. The cogen unit uses an engine fueled by natural gas to generate electricity; at the same time, water is heated by the engine’s warmth. Heat from the engine’s water jacket and exhaust is collected through heat exchangers and used to provide base heat to the centre. The Yanmar unit is rated to simultaneously produce 10 kW of electricity and 16.8 kW of heat. The cogen starts up automatically when the building... Read more
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May 17, 2018

Repairing the riparian area — riverbank rejuvenation in Vermilion

Lakeland College’s Vermilion campus was founded in 1913 as an agricultural school and is surrounded by land used for studying and researching farming. In addition to space for farming and grazing, the fields contain wetlands which, with growing recognition of their importance in the overall health of the environment, are increasingly the subject of research themselves. That’s because riparian (literally, river bank) areas provide habitat for wildlife, have an important role in protecting water quality and limit the damage caused by floods. But the banks of wetlands and rivers are often badly degraded — by animals seeking water and by... Read more
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May 17, 2018

Strong, straight and nutritious: research to improve cereal crops

Keeping cereal crops healthy and strong over the summer gives them their best shot of producing a high yield of grain. How to achieve that is the focus of the cereal research taking place at Lakeland College, led by Laurel Perrott. Recent research trials have had three main themes: in-season nitrogen fertility, optimal fungicide timing, and preventing lodging. Under the first theme, Perrott is studying the effect of applying additional nitrogen fertilizer on different varieties and classes of wheat after the crop has emerged, either early or later in the season. She’s also studying barley foliar fungicide timing. Fungicides are... Read more
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May 16, 2018

Cool work with hydrogen

A lot of effort has gone into discovering the holy grail of zero-emission fuel — and that’s where the promise of hydrogen comes in. A team from Centennial College, including Professor Md. Ali Tarique, innovation program manager Hassan Haji-Esmaeili and student researcher Harparampreet (“Preet”) Kaur are investigating hydrogen cooling solutions that would allow internal combustion engines to run on hydrogen. Because hydrogen extraction is labourious, their hypothesis is that small modifications to an internal combustion engine would be safer, more convenient and less expensive than producing hydrogen fuel cells. Their specific challenge is to find a way to narrow the... Read more
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May 16, 2018

Take heat, be cool

Take heat, be cool. Sounds like a line from a jazz standard, but it’s also a description of solar absorption cooling — a method of air conditioning that uses the power of the sun, rather than electricity, to operate. Heating buildings through the power of the sun is nothing new, but solar-powered air conditioning seems like a contradiction in terms. In fact, it is merely harnessing the sun’s power another way: it uses water, heated by the sun, to drive the chillers in air conditioners. Not using electricity gives solar absorption cooling a huge advantage, because the electrical grid can... Read more
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