U of T engineers receive funding from automotive research centre for research on biofuels, green autoparts, pollution and wireless sensors, and recyclable materials

Friday, December 4, 2009 11:00:00 AM

A leading Canadian automotive research centre, AUTO21, has announced funding for 20 new programs, which include the following five projects at the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering:

1. Second Generation Biofuels for Sustainable Transportation
(Project Leader: Dr. Murray Thomson, Professor, Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering): Developing biofuels which are produced from the non-sucrose, non-starch and non-oil parts of plants and do not compete with food production. These include agricultural waste, forest waste, municipal solid waste and dedicated biomass energy crops grown on marginal land. This project will focus on butanol, BTL synthetic diesel and hydrodeoxygenated bio-oil produced from non-food sources.
For more information, please visit http://www.mie.utoronto.ca/labs/crl/

2. Renewable, Recyclable and Lightweight Structural Prototype Parts
(Project Co-Leader: Dr. Mohini Sain, Professor and Director, Centre for Biocomposites and Biomaterials Processing, Faculty of Forestry; Centre for Environment graduate faculty member): Using a bio-based polyester to engineer prototype ‘green' auto-parts - specifically a running board and bumper. The prototypes will have lower density, low cost, acceptable specific strength, enhanced energy recovery, will use less energy and reduce automotive greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information, please visit http://www.forestry.utoronto.ca/people/sain/
3. Pollution and Particle Sensors for Environment-Aware Vehicles
(Project leader: Dr. Wai-Tung Ng, Professor, Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering): This project is developing an environment-aware vehicle-based sensing system that monitors the operating condition of its on-board power train and also the current location (using GPS) and pollution/particle-count outside the vehicle. The vehicle will obtain current weather/environment reports and daily official warnings or regulations via a wireless mobile communication network. The vehicle can then become self-aware of the amount of pollution it is generating and adjust the engine performance to temporarily minimize its environmental impact during difficult periods.
For more information, please visit http://www.vrg.utoronto.ca/~ngwt/

4. Recyclable, Lightweight Polymeric Nanocomposites
(Project Leader: Dr. Hani Naguib, Associate Professor, Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering): Development of an innovative and new class of light weight recyclable polymeric nanocomposite products with unique properties, such as enhanced mechanical, impact, barrier and heat resistance, while also achieving good recyclability.
For more information, please visit http://www.mie.utoronto.ca/faculty/profile.php?id=38; http://sapl.mie.utoronto.ca/

5. Wireless Sensor Networks for Communicative and Adaptive Cars
(Project Co-Leader: Dr. Sharokh Valaee, Associate Professor, Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering): This project addresses the fundamental issues crucial for developing solutions that use sensory information, combined with new communication techniques, to enhance the performance of future vehicles, provide safety for passengers, reduce traffic congestion, mitigate air pollution, and allow auto manufacturers to obtain feedback on their products in use.
For more information, please visit http://www.comm.utoronto.ca/~valaee/

(This is an edited excerpt of an article found at http://www.engineering.utoronto.ca/news/05212009.htm)