Lab Canada

Partnership yields world-leading energy-saving technologies

Saskatoon, SK – A partnership between the University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering and Saskatoon-based Venmar CES Inc. has yielded new heat exchanger technology that promises to cut building heating and cooling costs by up to 80 per cent.

On display recently at the engineering lab where the research was done, the prototype of the new Venmar CES device will, “revolutionize how we heat and cool buildings worldwide,” says Maury Wawryk, vice-president and general manager of Venmar CES Inc. in Saskatoon.

“Our long and successful research partnership with Venmar CES provides clear benefits for our researchers and students, as well as for the economy and the environment,” said U of S vice-president research Karen Chad.

“This relationship is also an excellent example of how we excel in energy technologies for a sustainable environment – one of the integral themes within our signature areas of research.”

Venmar CES Inc. has its roots in U of S research in the 1970s, with the first low-cost, plastic air-to-air heat exchanger for use in houses or livestock operations to increase energy efficiency. Developed by U of S engineering researcher Robert Besant, this technology was commercialized and led to a long history of research collaboration between the college and its industrial partners.

Today, Besant and fellow mechanical engineering professor Carey Simonson work together with Venmar CES on federal NSERC Collaborative Research and Development grants totaling $1.5 million to date. Two patents have been filed based on this collaborative research.

The partnership has led to plentiful opportunities for students to contribute to research into energy-efficiency technologies with real-world impact. To date, Venmar CES has helped fund 20 U of S master’s and PhD student projects.

These students have gone on to form the core of the workforce of the Venmar CES Saskatoon operations (they have a sister facility at St-Léonard-d’Aston, Québec). More than a dozen U of S grads now work at the company, where they make up a large portion of the in-house R&D department. The firm plans to expand their R&D team as more opportunities arise from the core technology that has been developed.

A video on the U of S-Venmar CES partnership, produced by the U of S in partnership with NSERC, is available at here.