Applied Research

Concentrating Solar Power in Manitoba

September 23, 2013
Pictured L-R (Kim Jasper, , RRC; Mr. Dale Friesen, MB Hydro, Mr. Bert van den Berg, NSERC, Mr. Ray Hoemsen, RRC, and Dr. James Blatz, U ofM)

From left: Kim Jasper, Red River College; Dale Friesen, Manitoba Hydro; Bert van den Berg, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); Ray Hoemsen, Red River College; and Dr. James Blatz, University of Manitoba.

Red River College (RRC), Manitoba Hydro (MH), and the University of Manitoba (U of M) partnered to develop a solar thermal parabolic trough system (Solar Trough) to concentrate energy and test its effectiveness in cold climates.

“This world-class project will explore the feasibility of providing sustainable heating to the world’s cold-climate communities,” said Stephanie Forsyth, president of Red River College. “It also serves as a successful partnership model for applied learning and innovation, with the University of Manitoba and the College sharing resources and expertise.”

The system captures and concentrates solar energy into a fluid-filled tube where heat production is being measured. Phase One of the project will measure the amount of heat the troughs produce in a cold climate environment. This is the first time an application like this has been explored in a cold climate. While solar power systems have been effective in much warmer regions like California and New Mexico, there has never been a chance to determine their effectiveness in an extremely cold climate.

“This project will test the trough’s performance in Manitoba’s climate, and we intend to use the results to estimate Manitoba’s solar thermal resource,” said Dale Friesen, division manager, Industrial and Commercial Solutions for Manitoba Hydro. “These troughs could potentially be used to lower the province’s use of electricity and natural gas for heating purposes.”

Solar Trough located at Red River College's Notre Dame Campus

The Solar Trough located at Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus

“This partnership between the University of Manitoba, Red River College, and Manitoba Hydro is an example of how we can pool our considerable research talents at the three institutions to deliver successful and meaningful research,” said James Blatz, associate vice-president (partnerships) and professor civil engineering, University of Manitoba. “It’s our collective goal to capitalize on many more successful research partnership opportunities such as this.”

The solar trough site is the latest in RRC facilities and equipment dedicated to research in sustainable energy and infrastructure. Along with funding from Manitoba Hydro and the U of M, this project is financially supported in part by the College’s Sustainable Infrastructure Technology Research Group, with funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Federal Budget May Benefit Red River College, says President

March 26, 2013

Last week’s federal budget promises to reinforce the work Red River College is doing to provide more opportunities for future students and faculty, says RRC President Stephanie Forsyth.

Overall, RRC welcomes the collaborative approach outlined in the budget, which envisions two levels of government, post-secondary education institutions, labour and industry working together to help address the Canadian skills shortage. Both the Association of Community Colleges of Canada (ACCC) and Polytechnics Canada have also welcomed these announcements, particularly because they’ve been advocating for this type of investment and focus in skills development.

One of the highlights of the budget was a proposed Canada Job Grant, a $500-million investment in 2014-15 to connect employers with prospective employees and invest in their education. Early information suggests a potential student could be eligible for a $15,000 grant paid for with equal contributions from employers and the federal and provincial governments.

As Forsyth points out, many programs at RRC have a waiting list ratio of up to four students for every one currently attending. At first glimpse, the Canada Jobs Grant would help train more students, though collaboration from all parties would be required.

“This proposed grant is dependent upon all three parties bringing money to the table, so it is far from certainty,” she said last week. “Working closely with industry, the private sector and community organizations is a particular strength of RRC. If this collaborative model comes to pass, it will hopefully help us leverage this strength to engage more students and meet the needs of industry.” Read More →

Canada’s Answer to European Hospitality Schools Now at Red River College

February 21, 2013

Canada’s newest hospitality and culinary school opened its anchor restaurant today – Jane’s – the final piece in a 10-storey school where students learn, work and live in a facility modeled after the best European schools – all housed in a fully renovated historic building.

From here we are going to attract people from around the world to Winnipeg,” said Red River College President Stephanie Forsyth as she opened the doors to Jane’s – the opulent 90-seat fine dining restaurant of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute in the 1904 restored Union Bank Tower in downtown Winnipeg. “Learning and working in a space like this really inspires staff and students to do their best. The institute will attract and graduate the best hospitality people in Canada.”

“As the anchor restaurant, Jane’s provides the finishing touches to a school that the Canadian hospitality industry has been requesting for decades – a Canadian equivalent of the finest hotel and culinary schools in Europe. This is Canada’s answer. The Paterson GlobalFoods Institute combines culinary, baking and pastry arts, mixology and hospitality management with a student residence. At Jane’s, for example, the classroom is the restaurant. Students prepare and serve the meals in an open-concept kitchen, allowing guests to see the students and learn more about cooking while they dine,” Forsyth said.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, who was among the first guests to walk through the facility, says Jane’s and Paterson GlobalFoods Institute will help meet the skilled labour shortage in Manitoba. The Manitoba government has contributed $5 million toward the school and restaurant.

“This new restaurant at Red River College is an innovative approach to helping meet the growing demand for skilled workers in Manitoba and we’re proud to support its creation,” said Selinger. “And for the 140 graduates every year who will have trained at Jane’s and the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute this means practical experience that will help them more quickly transition from school to a good job.” Read More →

RRC’s Concrete Toboggan Team Places Fifth in National Competition

February 15, 2013

Downhill runs keep leading to upward trends for members of Red River College’s Concrete Toboggan Race Team, who picked up a pair of awards and a top-quarter ranking at the annual competition in Vancouver last month.

The nine-member team took home a Spirit Award and Best Steering Design honours at the 39th annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race, where members finished fifth out of 21 teams representing some of the country’s top engineering schools.

The showing improves on the team’s ninth-place finish in 2012, and shows how far they’ve come since ranking last in their tournament debut the year prior.

The Toboggan Race, a showcase of innovation and engineering spirit, draws teams of post-secondary students from all over Canada, encouraging them to focus on materials and structure knowledge, innovative concrete and mechanical design, and teamwork. Entrants must design and construct a five-person toboggan with a roll bar (capable of withstanding an upset at 75-km/hour), and a running surface composed entirely of concrete, while maintaining a total weight of less than 300 pounds. Read More →

Red River College Partners with Innovate Manitoba

November 22, 2012

Brent Wennekes, Red River College

Accelerating innovation in Manitoba is Red River College’s motivation for appointing a technology- and research-focused business and communications specialist to the Innovate Manitoba team.

Brent Wennekes, Technology Transfer & Communications Manager with Applied Research & Commercialization at RRC will provide his skills three days per week to Innovate Manitoba as Research and Programs Manager.

“With its applied research program and reputation for graduating skilled individuals, Red River College is an important player in Manitoba’s innovation ecosystem,” said Jan Lederman, President of Innovate Manitoba. “Their provision of a highly-skilled programs manager to our team demonstrates a significant commitment towards accelerating innovation in Manitoba.”

Wennekes has experience in managing programs and research activities with a national not-for-profit advanced technology organization. With RRC, he has been supporting the growth of applied research programs in the areas of clean technology, advanced manufacturing, digital technology, and health sciences.

“Red River College plays a vital role in advancing innovation in Manitoba through its applied research endeavors,” said Stephanie Forsyth, President of Red River College. “And it’s no secret that Manitoba’s true strength is our ability to collaborate to get the job done. To that end, we are pleased to contribute a dynamic individual to support the growth and impact of Innovate Manitoba which will ultimately provide a net benefit to our Province.”

Along with contributing to Innovate Manitoba’s ongoing activities, Wennekes will be looking to help increase collaboration among existing community members, increase innovation funding and resources available to the community, and help execute a membership drive.

About Innovate Manitoba

Innovate Manitoba is a non-profit, province-wide organization with programs dedicated to linking researchers, inventors and entrepreneurs to the resources they need to succeed. It is an integrated hub for all innovation-related activities in Manitoba, focused on accelerating innovation and commercialization in the province. For more information, please contact: Jan Lederman at janlederman@innovatemanitoba.com, or call 204-934-2349.

About Red River College

Red River College is Manitoba’s second-largest post secondary institution with over 30,000 enrolments in full-time, part-time and apprenticeship programs each year. RRC is also one of Canada’s leading colleges in the area of applied research, with a particular focus on sustainable infrastructure, alternative energy vehicles, aerospace and manufacturing.

Red River College Exploring Air Leakage in Manitoba Buildings

November 21, 2012

Originally posted on Red River College’s Applied Research blog.

While some buildings in Manitoba’s harsh climate perform well over time, others experience major problems ranging from high-energy bills to crumbling facades. Researchers with Red River College are aspiring to determine why.

With funding from Manitoba Hydro, RRC will test 20 commercial buildings throughout the Province over the next 16 months for air leakage, a critical factor in a building’s energy use, durability, air quality and comfort.

“It is a significant but essential step to better understand how air leakage affects Manitoba’s commercial buildings,” said Rob Spewak, RRC’s research manager. “Manitoba Hydro’s support and assistance reinforces the importance of this issue.”

The need for airtightness in buildings was initially seen only as an energy issue, since excessive air leakage can significantly increase heating and cooling costs, but other significant problems can occur.

Read More →

RRC Awarded $1.7 million for Technology Access Centre

November 13, 2012

(From left): Fred Doern, Chair of Mechanical, Manufacturing & Communications at RRC; the Hon. Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport); James Knight, President, Association of Canadian Community Colleges; MP Joyce Bateman (Winnipeg South Centre); the Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology); Stephanie Forsyth, President of RRC; and Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, announced today that Red River College will receive almost $1.7 million through NSERC’s Community and College Innovation Program to establish the A2i2: Advanced Aerospace Innovation Initiative.

This new technology access centre will focus on making RRC’s facilities, technologies and expertise available to small and medium enterprises in the aerospace and manufacturing sectors.

“This technology access centre builds on the partnerships RRC has formed with companies like StandardAero and Magellan Aerospace to enhance innovation and productivity in these key industry sectors,” said Stephanie Forsyth, President of Red River College. “Ultimately, the research done through A2i2 will create new jobs and other economic opportunities right here in Manitoba.”

Over the past decade, Red River College and its partners have invested over $20 million in acquiring state-of-the-art technologies specializing in advanced materials and bonding, imaging and automation, and machine vision and simulation. The A2i2 initiative will bring these facilities under one umbrella, making it easier for industry to access equipment and College researchers.

Red River College is Manitoba’s second-largest post secondary institution with over 30,000 enrolments in full-time, part-time and apprenticeship programs each year. RRC is also one of Canada’s leading colleges in the area of applied research, with a particular focus on sustainable infrastructure, alternative energy vehicles, and aerospace manufacturing.

Aerospace Training Programs at RRC Benefit from Newly-Donated Engine

November 7, 2012

(From left): Peter Bjornson, Provincial Minister of Entrepreneurship, Training & Trade; Stephanie Forsyth, President of RRC; and Kim Olson, Senior Vice-President, Helicopters, Energy & Engineering for StandardAero.

Red River College will continue to serve as an engine of economic growth in Canada, thanks to a recent donation worth $1.2 million from industry partner StandardAero.

Earlier this month, the company transferred ownership of a GE CF-34 turbine aircraft engine to RRC. The engine will be used as part of the College’s apprenticeship and training programs, in particular the Gas Turbine Repair and Overhaul program, which promotes engine maintenance, repair and overhaul skills.

“Here at Red River College, we pride ourselves on giving students the opportunity to train using state-of-the-art technology and industry-approved equipment,” says RRC President Stephanie Forsyth. “This donation, and our partnership with StandardAero, will allow us to continue to serve as a leader in aerospace training, and to continue supplying highly-trained employees to the workforce.”

The College’s partnership with StandardAero has been ongoing for several years, and has also resulted in the development of the Centre for Aerospace Technology & Training (CATT), a unique industrial campus model that serves as a technology validation site for RRC’s Applied Research and Commercialization department. StandardAero is also an active participant in RRC’s co-op and internship programs.

“Our (latest) donation serves as a key workforce skills strategy, not only for StandardAero, but also for Manitoba’s continued economic sustainment and growth,” says Kim Olson, Senior Vice-President, Helicopters, Energy & Engineering at StandardAero.

“Training on real-world products without incurring capital costs is paramount to the learning and development of a highly skilled workforce in Manitoba. Our partnership with Apprenticeship Manitoba and RRC is nationally recognized as a leading contributor to the growth of the aerospace sector in Manitoba.”

Electric Bus Partnership Benefits from New Federal Funding

October 31, 2012

A consortium involving Red River College, New Flyer Industries and other industry partners has been awarded $3.4 million in new federal funding to further develop battery-electric bus propulsion technology.

The new funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada builds on the $1-million investment made by the provincial government last year to develop an all‑electric transit bus and charging system, said Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak, who extended his congratulations to all involved in the project for this latest development.

The all-electric bus development and demonstration project is a partnership between RRC, New Flyer, the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

“Together we are developing an entirely electric bus system to get families around, not only in Winnipeg, but in cities all over North America,” said Chomiak. “The development of renewable and sustainable technologies is a priority for our government and the support being offered ensures we keep can keep moving forward.”

In addition to the $1-million investment in 2011, the province has invested $100,000 for the creation of an electric-vehicle learning and demonstration centre at RRC under Manitoba’s Electric Vehicle Road Map. Read More →

New Research Facility Features Canada’s Second Laser UT System

October 3, 2012

(From left): RRC President Stephanie Forsyth; Don Boitson, VP & GM of Magellan Aerospace; Western Economic Diversification Minister Lynne Yelich; and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

Leaders from government, education and aerospace gathered to celebrate the opening of Red River College’s new Centre for Non-Destructive Inspection (CNDI) on September 29th. The facility is housed within a new RRC “industrial campus” located at Magellan Aerospace‘s production plant in Winnipeg.

Featuring some of Canada’s most advanced inspection equipment — including one of only two laser ultrasonic testing (Laser UT) systems in the country — CNDI provides a competitive advantage for the manufacturing sector in Manitoba while addressing the industry demand for skilled inspection staff.

“The productivity enhancements, when compared to other traditional methods of inspection are significant,” explained Don Boitson, Vice President and General Manager of Magellan Aerospace. “A component that would take eight hours to inspect using conventional methods can take as little as one hour to inspect utilizing Laser UT. The benefits provided through this technology are considerable in terms of efficiencies to both cost and schedule.”

In addition to the direct benefits for industry, Red River College students are in the unique position of being trained to use this leading edge technology.

“One of the key themes of Red River College’s strategic plan is to fuel Manitoba’s economic growth and community development,” said Stephanie Forsyth, President of Red River College. “By partnering with the federal government and Magellan Aerospace on the creation of CNDI, we’re helping spark innovation within the aerospace sector and giving researchers and students access to state-of-the-art inspection equipment.” Read More →

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