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Feds give $1.M for power research in Manitoba


Winnipeg, MN – The federal government has earmarked $1.5 million over five years for two new NSERC Industrial Research Chairs in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba. Manitoba Hydro is also sponsoring both chairs.

The chairs will focus on such diverse topics as the simulation of power generation and distribution problems, the integration of alternative energy into power grids, the development of modelling techniques, the design of turbines for small fast-flowing rivers, icing on wind turbines and the assessment of biomass digesters for cold climates.

Dr Aniruddha Gole, an internationally recognized expert in simulation studies, will focus on the development of computer simulation methods for energy generation, transmission, distribution and utilization.

Joining Manitoba Hydro in sponsoring this initiative are Winnipeg-based Manitoba HVDC Research Centre, which does power system research and technology; RTDS Technologies, a Manitoba-based company that is developing a real time digital simulator; and Teshmont Consultants, which works in high voltage transmission. All partners will contribute direct funding, along with significant in-kind resources for both the research and the dissemination of results.

"This chair is synergistically partnering with these institutions in improving the technology base in this area. The chair program will help these industries maintain their international competitiveness and also lead to improved designs and operating procedures for power utilities," said Dr Gole, adding that the chair will also be of significant importance in training highly qualified personnel for the Canadian power industry.

A second industrial chair, sponsored by Manitoba Hydro alone, will be held by Dr Eric Bibeau, who will apply mathematical tools and models to develop new options for the generation of alternative energy.

"This is a tremendous opportunity provided by Manitoba Hydro and NSERC to do research in how to convert distributed sources of energy into heat and power. The enormous challenge is to find ways to utilize sources such as fast flowing rivers that have no elevation change, and to invent and develop new, scaled-down energy systems that can utilize distributed biomass residues and agricultural wastes," says Dr Bibeau. "This is not a simple matter, as power generation costs must be the same as for large-scale systems that benefit from economies of scale."