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March 15, 2016

Raising Fish to Grow Good Gardens

The results of one of Lethbridge College’s most delicious applied research projects can be found in restaurants throughout southern Alberta – produce grown in a greenhouse on the college’s campus. This produce is grown using an innovative combination of aquaponics and aquaculture. Aquaculture and aquaponics are exciting developments in agriculture where fish and plants are cultivated together in a growing system with re-circulating water that produces plants year-round safely and efficiently. The novel system also enhances growth rates of greenhouse crops. The plants are seeded each March and nurtured by a water supply provided by fish. The water is then... Read more
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March 14, 2016

A Precision Watering System for Turfgrass

Urban lawn watering is the single largest water demand on municipal water supplies. An Alberta company developing irrigation technology recognized that water scarcity and a need for greater irrigation efficiency could provide a market opportunity. Olds College was approached by the company, 1318552 Alberta Limited, and asked to test its novel turfgrass irrigation system for residential and commercial applications. The computer-generated program alters the flow of water to the head depending on the shape and size of areas to be watered. This system requires fewer irrigation heads and less underground piping, which would reduce installation costs. Through its partnership with... Read more
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March 14, 2016

Helping Beekeepers Mind Their Own Beeswax

Neil Bertram, owner of Bertram Honey Ltd., was ready to move past the mess and expense of current technologies for beeswax extraction. With market demand for beeswax not only from the beekeeping industry, but also for the chewing gum, cosmetics, food production, and pharmaceutical industries, Bertram wanted to optimize the amount of beeswax he could get from his hive frames. Bertram and other beekeepers usually extract beeswax by boiling hive frames, squeezing out the wax, and trucking it to rendering facilities. The Alberta beekeeper came up with an idea for his own solution. He built a steam beeswax extractor but... Read more
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March 14, 2016

Diagnosing the Health of Honey Bees

Concerns about declining bee populations in North America have been major news in the past couple of years as many beekeepers have suffered large losses of bees. There has been increased urgency to find causes for the deaths of bees in hives across Canada. The National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC) is a state-of-the-art laboratory of Grande Prairie Regional College that opened in April 2013 through a partnership with Agriculture and AgriFood Canada. The same month, it was awarded an NSERC Technology Access Centre grant which helped expand its mandate to include applied research, training, outreach, and innovation for the beekeeping... Read more
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March 14, 2016

Smart Sheep Help with Feed Research

A group of 80 lambs participated in a research trial at Lakeland College in the summer of 2014 and collected their own data! The lambs, fitted with individual radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, were given the task of comparing two different rations for the finishing period before slaughter. The GrowSafe feeding system in the Livestock Research Centre at Lakeland College collected data about the amount of feed each lamb consumed daily, as well as their individual eating behaviour patterns. The experiment was conducted for Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. Susan Markus, a Livestock Research Scientist with Alberta Agriculture, designed the... Read more
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March 14, 2016

New Technology Helps Asthma Patients Breathe Easy

Globally, 180,000 people die of acute asthma attacks every year, many with a rescue inhaler in hand. Some of these asthmatics are resistant to available medications, but for most the rescue medicine could not penetrate their constricted airways. SAIT Polytechnic is working with industry partner SolAeroMed to develop the first innovation in asthma treatment in more than 30 years. SolAeroMed has patented a drug, S-1226, that can overcome the shortcomings in current standards of care for acute airway constriction. But the company met a stumbling block after it was approved for human trials. Compressed CO2 is the key to success... Read more
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March 14, 2016

Dark Laser Detects Nano Particles of Oil in Water

NAIT’s Nanotechnology Centre for Applied Research, Industry Training and Services (NanoCARTS) was established in 2012 with a Technology Access Centre grant from the Natural Science Engineering Research Council of Canada. The centre provides nanotechnology and microtechnology support to small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the areas of prototyping, product development and enhancement, testing, as well as characterization and training. One of the projects within nanoCARTS involves a collaborative effort between NAIT, Alberta Nano-Monitoring Systems (ANMS), Benchmark Instrumentation and Analytical Services and a major Alberta oil sands company. The project is focused on the development of a unique structured “dark” laser beam, based... Read more
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March 14, 2016

Winter Planting Enhances Wetland Reclamation for Oil Sands

Reclaiming lands deforested by oil sands excavation has been one of the greatest challenges of the burgeoning oil industry in Alberta. Success with winter replanting of spruce trees undertaken by researchers from Grande Prairie Regional College offers an exciting new remedy for this industry problem. Boreal wetlands disturbed by oil sands operation are not accessible in the summer for reclamation. And the excessive moisture content of the soil reduces seedling survival. Therefore, reclamation of the wetlands is difficult and limited during the regular planting season. The novel idea of winter planting to avoid these limitations was advanced by Dr. Weixing... Read more
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March 14, 2016

Floating Fence Skims Oil Spills from Lake and River Water

A floating fence being tested and refined at SAIT Polytechnic offers new potential for making a difference in oil spill clean-up. The XBOOM hydrocarbon containment technology was developed by Canadian Floating Fence Corporation with testing, validation and design refinement done in cooperation with researchers in SAIT Polytechnic’s Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department. The upright floating fence has a unique design that allows water to flow through it while enabling the effective containment, collection and redirection of spilled oil or debris in preparation for skimming and clean up. A working prototype of the XBOOM is being used in live... Read more
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