Multi-million dollar lab unlike any other in the world
OSHAWA, ON - The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) officially opened a new cutting-edge laboratory that will pioneer clean energy research and potentially uncover major solutions to the problem of climate change.
"The McGuinty government is building a strong, reliable and clean energy system to meet the province's future energy needs," said Minister Duguid. "The Clean Energy Research Laboratory at UOIT will greatly contribute to this plan and is yet another example of how Ontario is quickly becoming a leader in clean energy research and innovation."
The provincial government contributed $3 million to support the development of the laboratory and to help UOIT develop its capacity in hydrogen technology research. The CERL houses externally funded research projects valued at more than $5.5 million including $1.78 million from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and $485,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, among others.
"We have many wonderful partners to thank for their support in helping make CERL a reality, in particular the Province of Ontario," said Dr. Ronald Bordessa, UOIT president and vice-chancellor. "UOIT is as much about the here and now as it is about the future, and the opening of CERL represents another outstanding example of how the university is helping define the nature of innovative research and the potential to house it. UOIT was created for this very purpose - to be a global leader through the confluence of academia, industry and government."
As global oil reserves are reduced amidst rising demand for oil, major efforts around the world have focused on hydrogen as a next-generation fuel, since it does not emit greenhouse gases. A key challenge facing a future transition to a hydrogen economy is a sustainable, efficient method of producing hydrogen in large capacities. UOIT's Dr. Greg Naterer, associate dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and Canada Research Chair in Advanced Energy Systems, is leading a consortium of more than 30 researchers representing eight universities across Ontario and internationally that is developing a copper-chlorine cycle for producing hydrogen from nuclear energy.
"Our team's research breakthroughs in hydrogen production have gained international attention from major industries and institutions, further enhancing the reputation of UOIT and Durham Region as world leaders in clean energy," said Dr. Naterer. "Using nuclear, solar or other heat sources such as waste heat from industrial plant emissions, the copper-chlorine cycle promises to achieve much higher efficiencies, lower environmental impact and lower costs of hydrogen production than any other existing technology."
The waste product of burning hydrogen is water. As a mass-scale carrier of energy, hydrogen use would protect the environment for future generations, by reducing and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from fossil fuels. Safer than gasoline, diesel and other non-renewable energy sources, hydrogen production could also eliminate dependence on imported fuels. As a direct result of research led by UOIT, many other countries have started copper-chlorine cycle programs for hydrogen production including France, Romania, England, India and China.
CERL also presents excellent training opportunities for UOIT students to participate in world-leading research and acquire valuable skills. CERL's partnering institutions include Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL; Chalk River, Ontario), Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, Illinois, USA), the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and the University of Western Ontario. Research conducted at CERL is made possible through generous funding provided by AECL, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, Phoenix Canada Oil Limited, Canada Research Chairs program, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Marnoch Thermal Power Inc., Ontario Centres of Excellence, and the Ontario Power Authority.
The CERL celebration also included a salute from the famous Canadian Snowbirds Demonstration Team which staged a fly-over of the unique laboratory during the opening ceremonies. Several manufacturers within the aeronautics industry are developing conceptual designs that involve using liquid hydrogen as a fuel source.
As an innovative university, UOIT delivers a leading-edge learning environment that uniquely combines academic knowledge, research opportunities, hands-on skills and a vibrant student life. UOIT's more than 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students are taught by professors who are experts in their fields from around the world. As Ontario's first laptop-based university, the university offers a diverse array of challenging undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its faculties of Business and Information Technology; Education; Energy Systems and Nuclear Science; Engineering and Applied Science; Health Sciences; Science; and Social Science and Humanities. UOIT's commitment to research excellence has resulted in millions of dollars in grants and awards, including six Canada Research Chairs. To find out more, visit http://www.uoit.ca/ or call 905.721.8668.