Posted March 9th, 2010 by Engineering

Engineering professors receive major grants from Ontario Research Excellence Program

By Carolyn Farrell

Three research teams involving engineering professors have received a total of $8.2M in funding from the Ontario Research Fund’s Research Excellence Program (ORF-RE). The ORF-RE program promotes research excellence in Ontario by supporting transformative, internationally significant research of strategic value to the province. It focuses on scientific excellence, strong commercialization, and strategic value to Ontario, and targets new, leading-edge research initiatives.

Professors Javad Mostaghimi (ChemE) (Principal Investigator), Sanjeev Chandra (MIE), and Tom Coyle (MSE) received funding for their project High-efficiency Spray-formed Metal Foam Heat Exchangers for High Temperature Energy Conversion and Recovery, which aims to develop lightweight, high efficiency spray-formed metal foam heat exchangers, which can be manufactured at low cost and withstand both high temperatures and long-term use under industrial conditions. The project received $3,471,879 and includes private sector partners Plasco Energy Group Inc., Pratt and Whitney Canada Inc. and Centreline Ltd.

Professor Ted Sargent (ECE), together with an interdisciplinary team, received $3M for their project High-Efficiency Low-Cost Solar Cells to create solar energy harvesting technology that is both high in efficiency and low in cost. The efficiency of solar technology is determined by the portion of the solar light spectrum the material can absorb. The project’s goal is to create a system which will absorb across the sun’s full spectrum or better still, to build devices whose constituent layers each efficiently harvest specific bands within the sun’s broad spectrum. The project promises to help Ontario realize its clean energy goals and position the province as a global leader in the production of cheap green energy technology.

Forestry Professors Ning Yan and Mohini Sain (cross-appointed to ChemE), along with co-applicant Professor Ramin Farnood (ChemE) have received $1.75M for their project Bark Biorefinery: Green Adhesives and Bio-based Foams from Bark. The project aims to develop technology breakthroughs that can successfully convert bark, a waste residue from forest mills, into high value, eco-friendly adhesives and bio-products with large market potential, some of which could replace petroleum-derived products.

“We are grateful to the Province of Ontario for funding these relevant and impactful projects,” said Cristina Amon, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. “These grants highlight the essential role academic research plays in enhancing Ontario’s economic and technological prosperity.”