University of Calgary

Green electronics

April 29, 2009

Green electronics and gas from garbage

Rethinking the design of energy-sucking electronics; generating power from plain old garbage; creating better navigation technologies to make life easier and safer; developing chips, receivers and amplifiers for everything from monitoring patient health to gathering signals from outer space.

Five researchers from the Schulich School of Engineering have received 2009 Summit Awards from the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta.

Patrick Hettiaratchi and Anil Mehrotra from the Schulich School of Engineering want to to solve one of the world’s biggest probl

Patrick Hettiaratchi and Anil Mehrotra from the Schulich School of Engineering want to to solve one of the world’s biggest problems: garbage.
The Environment and Sustainability Award went to the Calgary Biocell Project, an initiative involving Patrick Hettiaratchi and Anil Mehrotra from the Schulich School of Engineering. It is a joint project with the City of Calgary that aims to solve one of the world’s biggest problems: garbage. A biocell addresses the environmental concerns associated with landfills. It is a large pit lined with clay and plastic, filled with garbage and sealed. When the waste breaks down, the gas is captured and used to make electricity.

The Frank Spragins Technical Service Award went to James Haslett, who is designing radio chip and sensor systems for patient monitoring in the health-care industry. His work on analog-to-digital converters will enhance the next generation of wireless communications systems. Haslett is also part of an international network of engineers and scientists who are designing the largest radio telescope ever built. Haslett is developing ultra-low-noise amplifiers to minimize interference when the telescope receives radio signals from deep space.

Mark Petovello’s dedication to improving the accuracy and reliability of navigation systems earned him the Early Accomplishment Award. Petovello develops complex algorithms and methods to enable everything from successful landings on aircraft carriers to safer roads by providing better inter-vehicular positioning systems to help drivers avoid collisions.

Fadhel Ghannouchi, director of the iRadio Laboratory at the Schulich School of Engineering, won the Alberta Ingenuity Fund Research Excellence Award. As the iCore/Canada Research Chair in Intelligent RF Radio Technology, Ghannouchi and his team are developing ways to reduce energy loss during the transmission of radio signals. This research will lead to a new generation of electronics and communication devices that are more reliable and more power-efficient.

“As engineers and university professors, we have to be environmentally conscious and develop new products that provide long-term solutions,” says Ghannouchi.

APEGGA is the regulatory body for the practices of engineering, geology and geophysics in the province of Alberta. The annual Summit Awards recognize experts for outstanding contributions in their fields and for making a positive impact on the province of Alberta.

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