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NSCC Waterfront Research Lab Hub For Real-Life Solutions

A product that could revolutionize heating systems for more than half of Nova Scotia’s homes is now under development at NSCC’s Applied Energy Research Lab (AERLab).

“In the lab, our students and faculty are able to form teams and make links between their programs and what’s happening in the industry,” says NSCC research scientist Dr. Alain Joseph who oversees the lab at the Waterfront Campus. “They face real-world problems and solve complex R&D questions for local companies. Everybody wins.”

The question that’s top of mind for the team today: how can a clever trick of chemistry create a heating technology that doesn’t encounter the same energy loss seen in today’s existing options? If they can answer that question, the result could be a space heater that is cheaper, more efficient and easier to use than anything else on the market.

After winning Innovacorp’s Smart Energy Demo Challenge in late June, Louis Desgrosseilliers and Moe Kabbara of NeoThermal Energy Storage Solutions (NeoTES) partnered with Alain to move their idea from the theoretical to the concrete. “We are in a make-or-break phase for these guys; their success hinges on this window,” he notes.

During this stage, NeoTES and the NSCC team will collaborate to create a product that can be brought to market.

An economic renaissance

When asked about how the partnership with the College developed with Dalhousie University graduate engineering students from the concept stage to commercialization, Alain says, “There are certain things we specialize in at NSCC.  We have a lot of really skilled people who are great at taking ideas and making them into practical applications.”

In addition to Alain’s technical mentorship and the work of NSCC students, NeoTES’s venture will benefit from the “explosion of data” from AERLab’s work on the EnergyDATA project, the real-world testing capabilities of Pilikan House at the Annapolis Valley Campus, and access to a network of industry experts across all sectors. He adds, “We don’t just know about this stuff, we make it and we’re connected to the people who use it. Incoming entrepreneurs can draw on that brain trust.”

Alain says this type of work “is a living, breathing example of the very innovation and entrepreneurship” that results from the alignment of business, educational institutions and government that has been called for by the One Nova Scotia Report. “If we are going to have an economic renaissance in Nova Scotia, it’s the work and individuals of teams like this that will be key to making that a reality.”