May 9, 2005

Communities of Tomorrow supports new sustainability research projects

In Regina, last week, Communities of Tomorrow (CT) announced the second group of research projects in which it will be participating as part of its long-term goal of creating more sustainable communities within Saskatchewan, across Canada and beyond. The six projects are valued at a total of nearly $1.5 million. CT has contributed $721,353 as part of the research funding support provided to it by the federal and provincial governments under the Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA).

Five of the six projects involve innovative applications of environmental technologies and methods in pursuit of sustainable communities. They are summarized as follows.

Combined Electromagnetic and Optical Based Treatment Method (proponents: Dr Meda of the University of Saskatchewan, in partnership with the University of Regina)

This research project will focus on the design and development of a small-scale water treatment method by a combination of photocatalysis and microwave dielectric effect. Photocatalysis is the ability of certain metals such as titanium dioxide to decompose and degrade organic compounds when exposed to ordinary visible light. The ultimate goal is the development of a simple, compact unit capable of being retrofitted to any drinking water treatment system. The project will include the optimization of the process and field testing, consultation with the industry to assess the feasibility, and formation of an implementation procedure, economic analysis, performance evaluation and validation.

Optimal Traffic Noise Reduction in Canadian Cities with AR Road Pavement (proponent: the University of Regina (Dr Dai, principal investigator), in partnership with the city of Regina, the National Research Council, Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation and Saskatchewan's Scrap Tire Corporation.

This purpose of this project is to establish a methodology for understanding tire-pavement noise and to develop an optimization technique for controlling traffic noise in Canadian urban areas, using asphalt rubber (AR) incorporating crumb rubber from recycled tires as road pavement material. Studies have found that there is the potential, depending on the mix of asphalt and rubber used, to utilize up to 1,250 tires per lane kilometre with a 5 cm overlay of hot mix. A user-friendly software package for optimal noise reduction design with AR road pavement is to be developed for industrial application.

Classifying Urban Landscapes as a Precursor to Monitoring Change (proponent: Digital Environmental, of Saskatoon, in partnership with the city of Regina)

This research seeks to develop a cost-effective, accurate, and replicable technological process for mapping and classifying urban environments using high-resolution satellite imagery. Some of the perceived advantages are park maintenance and green space development, as well as monitoring land cover for promoting Smart Growth. This work will also add the value of monitoring municipal trees when they are used as offsets for carbon emissions. The process created through this project will be used to develop a commercial environmental information service for towns and cities throughout western Canada.

Waste Gasification and Energy Production (proponents: Dr Mahinpey and Dr Wilson from the University of Regina, in partnership with the city of Regina and SaskPower)

This project aims to provide fundamental information on the nature of gasification and byproduct/waste gas production from local waste streams. In the short term, the work will help determine the process and address issues relating to the development of a demonstration facility in collaboration with SaskPower. In the longer term, waste and biomass gasification technologies may be utilized in combined-cycle power plants or fuel cell systems as well as synthesized gas applications producing liquid fuels for the transportation sector.

The overall purpose of this research is to promote municipal and industrial small-scale gasification development and demonstration projects by providing fundamental information and new technologies to respond to the critical technical questions surrounding waste gasification and gas cleaning, including a more complete understanding of Saskatchewan feed stocks.

Eco-Industrial Networking Opportunities for Sustainable Transportation in Ross Industrial Park (proponent: the Regina Eco-Industrial Network Association, in partnership with the city of Regina and Transport Canada)

This project will apply an Eco-Industrial Networking (EIN) approach to develop best practices and seek out technologies related to transportation planning, logistics, and fleet management, using Regina's Ross Industrial Park as a case study. The researchers anticipate being able to transfer the results to industrial areas and municipalities across the country. The project will build on existing work elsewhere to create a new process, research methodology, and performance indicator framework for sustainable transportation in industrial areas.

Selected performance targets by the end of 2006 include: 15% increase in the amount of goods transported by rail; 15% decrease in truck traffic; 15% increase in the number of Ross businesses participating in a shared shipping and receiving program; 10% increase in the proportion of alternative fuels making up corporate fuel purchases; doubled access and frequency of bus availability; and 15% increase in the number employees using public transit for their daily commute.

More information is available from Anne Parker, executive director of Communities of Tomorrow, 306/522-6698, E-mail, Web site

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