Recent Research Projects

Development of spar engineering's next generation variable frequency drives

2016/17-2018/19 • $206,400 • PI
There has been widespread use of Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) devices in recent years due to theeconomic advantages they offer in achieving energy-efficient operation. As a result, VFDs are indispensablecomponents of many industry applications such as pumps, compressors, chillers, fans,...

Control Issues in Robust High-efficiency Energy Conversion with Application to Renewable Energy Systems

2015/16-2018/19 • $120,000 • PI
Modern renewable energy systems (RES) face two main challenges in their evolution: (1) Fundamental sciences and technologies to produce reliable and economical energy sources; and (2) Energy processing technologies for reliable and optimal conversion of energy into usable forms. Although the...

Investigation of intelligent systems for closed environment crop monitoring

2018/19 • $25,000 • PI
The proposed project is related to creating the necessary firmware and information processing algorithms for*intelligent crop monitoring. The objective is to detect changes in the physical location of plants, for instance to*detect if the crop inventory has been tampered with or a crop has been...

Smart materials technology for handling delicate objects

2014/15-2016/17 • $483,660 • PI,CO
While robots and imaging technologies are used in automated lines for handling a variety of objects, there is no grasping technology that can individually pick and place delicate items, such as fruits and vegetables, without damaging them or leaving marks. The absence of such a grasping...

Development of intelligent magneto-rheological dampers for mountain bikes

2013/14-2016/17 • $160,000 • PI,CO
The shock absorbers currently utilized in mountain bikes have to be manually adjusted by the biker before each ride. This feature is at times inconvenient and unsafe when biking in rough and unpredictable terrains. Hence, there is a great interest among high-end bicycle manufacturers to develop...

Solar-Driven Hybrid Atmospheric Water Generator with Energy Storage and Supplemental Lighting for Greenhouse Climate Control

2016/17 • $148,535 • PI,CO
Freshwater is becoming a scarce commodity as climate change, man-made pollutants entering the water system, and over-withdrawal of existing aquifers are placing enormous strain on freshwater supplies. Based on the United Nation reports, more than 48 countries will face serious water scarcity by...

Investigation of force control for emulation of variable weight loads

2016/17 • $25,000 • PI
The ultimate goal of the proposed project is to create a device that can generate different force profiles basedon set-points and trajectories defined by the user. The force profiles are either predetermined or will bedetermined in real-time by the user during operation of the device. The goal...

Cable shovel payload estimation using a strain transducer

2015/16 • $25,000 • PI
Cable shovels are extensively used in mining equipment for the extraction of minerals and precious metals. An important physical variable that has to be continuously monitored is the weight of the payload inside the Cable Shovel dipper with maximum capacities reaching 120 tonnes per scoop...

Control architecture for Spar Engineering's next generation Variable Frequency Drives

2015/16 • $25,000 • PI
There has been widespread use of Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) devices in recent years due to the economic advantages they offer in achieving energy-efficient operation. As a result, VFDs are indispensable components of many industry applications such as pumps, compressors, chillers, fans,...

Control and energy harvesting issues in structurally flexible mechanical systems

2010/11-2014/15 • $120,000 • PI
This proposal is concerned with synthesizing novel techniques for motion control and energy harvesting in structurally flexible mechanical systems. Structural flexibility exhibited in the form of vibrations and/or deflections, may be intentionally incorporated into the design or be as a result...

Development of an outdoor centimeter-level localization system for an autonomous greenhouse robotic application

2014/15 • $25,000 • PI
The proposed activity will investigate the localization problem related to an autonomous robotic system forhandling and moving potteries throughout a greenhouse. A robotic system will facilitate intensive physicalwork required for collection, spacing, and rearrangement of plant pots throughout a...

Investigation of sensor technology for detection of vehicles in parking spaces

2014/15 • $25,000 • PI
Existing energy-efficient lighting systems utilize motion detectors such as sonar and passive infrared fordetermining the occupancy status in an environment such as office or parking. However, there exist certaindrawbacks in the above methods. For instance, if a vehicle is in an area without...

Development of a distributed platform for intelligent lighting control

2012/13-2013/14 • $160,000 • PI,CO
Due to the ongoing rise in the cost of energy worldwide, the concept of smart energy management at the consumption site has become an important endeavor. In Canada, lighting constitutes about 20% of electric energy usage. Thus minimizing energy consumption due to lighting will have a significant...

Study of an alternator-based energy converter for L.B. Foster Friction Management System

2013/14 • $25,000 • PI
Friction control plays a major role in reducing wear, noise and vibration, and managing wheel/rail interactionon rail transit systems. Recognized as a global leader in rail industry, L.B. Foster has developed innovativelubrication technology for friction management at specific sections of a...

Power drive control architecture for Moovee Innovations One Seater prototype

2013/14 • $25,000 • PI
A new concept that is emerging in urban transportation systems is utilization of small electric vehicles thatmeet the demands for enclosed personal mobility. These types of vehicles are generally small and lightweightbut require much less space than more conventional vehicles such as the Smart...

Regenerative suspension system for FVT's Hybrid-Electric Vehicle

2011/12-2012/13 • $83,000 • PI,CO
The trend in achieving energy-efficiency in modern electric or hybrid-electric vehicles poses significant challenges on the design of new suspension systems. To achieve fuel efficiency, novel suspension designs are required not only to improve the vehicle's dynamic performance and ride comfort,...

Magnetically controllable damper for application to mountain bikes

2012/13 • $24,900 • PI
There is a great interest among high-end bicycle manufacturers to develop suspension systems that can be electronically controlled by the rider under various ride conditions such as down-hill, or up-hill. In such cases, the rider may want to change the suspension characteristics in a convenient...

Module integrated power electronics converter for photovoltaic panels

2011/12 • $24,900 • PI
A Photovoltaic (PV) module can easily lose a significant portion of its power capability if its load is not chosen properly. PV arrays are formed by connecting PV modules in series and parallel. A PV array uses maximum power point trackers to operate the system under best loading conditions for...

Feasibility study of linear-to-rotary motion converters for wave energy conversion

2011/12 • $23,900 • PI
This proposal is concerned with studying the feasibility of building a linear to rotary motion converter for application to marine wave energy converters (WECs). Marine waves generate low frequency linear motions with high forces and small amplitudes when acting on a buoy floating in sea water....

Feasibility study of regenerative suspension for hybrid electric vehicles

2010/11 • $23,865 • PI,CO
The trend in achieving energy-efficiency in modern electric or hybrid-electric vehicles poses significant challenges to the design of new suspension systems. To achieve fuel efficiency, novel suspension designs are required not only to improve the vehicle's dynamic performance, but also to...

Solar PV power plant performance monitoring at module level

2010/11 • $23,065 • PI
Photovoltaic (PV) arrays can easily lose a significant portion of their power capability due to non-ideal conditions such as partial shading, low solar radiation, dust collection, and photovoltaic cell aging. Hence, there is continued interest among photovoltaic installers, regulators, and...

Patents

SMART FLUID DAMPER

A smart fluid damper includes a damper body defining a cavity with smart fluid having first and second cavity portions. A piston head within the first cavity portion is slidingly displaceable. A flow control element is disposed within the second cavity portion. The flow control element includes a stationary main body having a central core, and a stationary outer housing that surrounds the main body and is spaced apart therefrom to define a fluid passage between the main body and the outer...
Related applications: WO2017CA51361, EP20170930568

SMART FLUID DAMPER

A damper for a smart fluid (e.g. an magnetorheological fluid) includes a damper body defining a cavity with smart fluid. A piston head is disposed within the cavity and is slidingly displaceable. A flow control element is disposed within the cavity. The flow control element includes a main body having a central core, and an outer housing that surrounds the main body and is spaced apart therefrom to define a fluid passage between the main body and the outer housing. The fluid passage extends...
Related applications: CA20172984533