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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

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 16, 2018

Hands-on work on remote control

Off-the-grid technology can present a problem for operators when it’s also out-of-reach. Toronto’s Clear Blue Technologies Inc. has more than two decades of experience in linking environmentally friendly green energy with the hardware and software necessary to monitor and manage it. The company has worked with Centennial students and faculty several times over the years, most recently on a new piece of technology, the Macaw charge controller, which communicates vital information on off-grid hardware (including solar and wind-driven equipment) to remote operators. Macaw can provide users with a range of information, from functional problems to data on the amount of... 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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May 16, 2018

Aclarus

Easy access to high-quality drinking water can be a challenge for people outside urban areas — and it was to improve that access that Aclarus Ozone Water Systems approached Lambton College in Sarnia for help to test, develop and optimize its ozone water purification system. Aclarus, based in Peterborough, Ontario, specializes in water purification through the use of ozone technology. Ozone, an inorganic molecule, is extremely efficient at removing bacteria, pesticides, odours, chemicals (and more) from water. In June of 2015, Aclarus partnered with the Lambton Water Centre at Lambton College on a research project to validate its system’s effectiveness... Read more
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May 16, 2018

Feeling better about what goes down the drain

Blue Planet Environmental is an Ontario-based company that has developed an advanced wastewater treatment for both residential and commercial use. The company approached the Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment at Fleming College to find ways to improve its new system, so its performance would eventually meet industry certification standards. The centre launched two consecutive applied research projects to optimize and redesign the system. The first assessed two variations of the system – run in parallel – to determine which removed nitrogen more effectively. The second project, building on the results of the first, modified the system to combine a fixed... Read more
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April 20, 2018

Aqua Greens – From Seed to Restaurant

In a contest of whether Humber College or fish were more important in the success of Aqua Greens, a company that supplies organic greens to restaurants and markets in Toronto, the fish would probably win. But Humber would be a close second. Tilapia are an essential part of the aquaponics system that Aqua Greens uses to supply restaurants and grocery stores in Toronto with several varieties of basil, as well as dandelions and mustard greens. Aquaponics is a water-based growing method that requires no soil: instead, the plant roots are bathed in highly oxygenated water that draws its nutrients from... Read more
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