Achieving climate change mitigation and adaptation by accelerating innovation

Accelerating innovation in climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies can help Canada cope and respond to its present impact and potentially establish a positive trajectory for climate health. Seneca’s applied research program has established a successful foundation of delivering high-quality and robust results relevant to industry, driven by faculty, and centered on engaging students. A number of Seneca applied research projects, in different disciplines, focus on the development of climate change mitigation technologies and the demand for this type of research is growing.

Mitigating the impact of climate change through the development of net-zero energy homes can impact reduced carbon emissions and overall dependence on fossil fuels. The challenge recently presented by the I-EMS Group to Seneca’s Data Analytics Research Centre (DARC) and School of Information Technology Administration & Security was to develop an energy management system (EMS) for net-zero energy homes. 

Currently underway, the project will thoroughly analyze a year of data from net-zero energy homes to develop algorithms to optimize hourly and daily energy consumption. The outcomes of this project aim to grow Canada’s clean energy technology sector through increased utilization, application and validation of advanced Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence analytics. This will be DARC’s first application of robust data science techniques to inform and enable efficient energy management in smart homes. Increased capacity and consumer utilization will also benefit Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions, and support operational cost reduction and increased system capacity goals. 

Seneca has also embarked on an applied research initiative with Environmental Bio-Detection Products Inc. (EBPI), a Burlington-based biotechnology company. EBPI specializes in the development, manufacturing and distribution of biological testing kits focused on toxicity, genotoxicity and mutagenicity for pharmaceutical, research and environmental purposes.

Maintaining sustainable and clean drinking water processes which are responsive to climate events and increased population demand, is essential for urban and rural contexts worldwide. The ability to monitor volumes of water at controlled flow-rates in real-time will allow engineers to extrapolate data and target areas of concern with greater accuracy which will support water supply sustainability, management and population health. 

Working with Seneca’s School of Electronics & Mechanical Engineering Technology, Seneca’s research team will advance the design and efficacy of an initial prototype of a water testing device developed in a previous applied research project. The goal is to optimize the design of the existing prototype by adjusting pumps, reconfiguring Programmable Logic Controller coding, addressing quality assurance requirements and performance of the new water testing system across an array of operational metrics. The modified design will allow end-users the ability to target and monitor for compounds of concern such as DNA/RNA, microplastics, analytical endpoints as well as biological responses.

Seneca is committed to stewarding, conserving and protecting our environment and, this year, earned a silver rating for sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The efforts of several dedicated applied research teams at Seneca, including the two projects described here, contributed to this achievement and will continue to support Seneca and the regional innovation ecosystem in our mutual efforts to mitigate climate change through innovation.

To learn more about collaborating with Seneca, contact research@senecacollege.ca. 

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