Immersing wastewater treatment in digital models

This summer, Nathalia Soares Covre, a Mitacs intern from Brazil, is helping the modelEAU team develop a digital model of an innovative wastewater treatment process. This new process reduces the discharge of nitrogen into lakes and rivers so that plant operators can work to reduce the impact of urban wastewater on local ecosystems.

How a taste for waste makes sustainable food

Led by Professor Filiz Koksel, the team, including Maria Arzamendi, a Mitacs Globalink intern from Mexico, is developing strategies to reduce food waste by using bakery by-products to create high-protein, fiber-rich snacks.

The researchers are combining leftover bread crumbs from a bakery with pulse flour, which is flour from legume crops, and using a novel technique to manipulate the food structure during processing. The local ingredients are resource efficient, environmentally friendly, and nutritional.

Slashing sea lice infection

In the last couple of years, Canada’s Atlantic salmon farms have faced a surge of parasitic sea lice, making them susceptible to infections or killing entire stocks. Globally, the spread of sea lice now costs up to $1 billion dollars in lost revenues annually.

New Brunswick company fights food invaders, naturally

“Consumers and companies alike are looking for safe and natural ways to keep their products fresher for longer,” says Natasha, CEO of Chinova Bioworks. “But labels full of unpronounceable, artificial ingredients can turn consumers off. It was important to me to create an alternative to the chemical preservatives normally found in food and beverage products.”

While conceptualizing the product, Natasha was searching for someone to take it to the next level — and she knew that Mitacs was available to help fledgling companies like hers.

Putting woodland conservation into the social media conversation

So she began a Master of Professional Communications at Royal Roads University. Now, thanks to a Mitacs internship, Alina is helping the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) enlist the public’s support to save endangered woodland areas.

Seeding frenzy

A few years later, that opportunity has allowed Joel to build a career for himself, and make developments that have benefitted the company and Canada’s agricultural sector.

“It was hardcore research,” says Joel, looking back on his internship. “Not just gathering data, but also looking at the results, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations directly to the general manager. It was more like a project as a professional than as an intern, and it definitely gave me a foot in the door.” Joel’s internship also led to the company filing a patent on some of his work.

SFU lab and Chilliwack company are buzzing with tech advances

To help tackle this environmental issue, Mitacs intern Oldooz Pooyanfar, a graduate student from Simon Fraser University’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, is working on a ‘smart’ system that monitors the health of honey bees and their hives. Once installed inside a beehive, her integrated monitoring system allows beekeepers to observe and track the health of their colonies. The device uses microscopic sensors and microphones to pick up sounds and vibrations emitted by bees and can also be used to observe the temperature and humidity of each hive.

Finding the bigger picture in microscopic algae

After hearing about Mitacs’ Globalink Research Internships through her department head, she set her sights on Canada and submitted her application.

Hayfa’s interest in research abroad soon found her in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, where she’s studying algae in order to learn more about the health of the province’s lakes and rivers. Her research project, based at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), uses a new mathematical approach to evaluating the microscopic organisms in fresh and salt water.

Mitacs Entrepreneur Awards: Making an impact on wastewater treatment

Boost Environmental Systems is working to safeguard water quality around the world through the commercialization of a novel approach to treating dairy farm manure and sewage sludge. Called IMPACT, the breakthrough technology is solving urgent problems facing the worldwide agricultural and wastewater treatment industries and is positioning Canada as a frontrunner is clean tech solutions for sustainable waste management.

Milking RFID technology for all it’s worth

Consumers may not be aware of what’s recyclable in their communities, and common items like milk cartons may end up in landfill. In fact, some recycling is buried regardless of its “recyclability,” and the relative size and commonality of milk cartons means they alone can take up a significant amount of space in a landfill.

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