A cold basement? A hot upstairs?
The traditional residential-building industry in Canada suffers from poorly designed ducts with undervented and over-vented areas causing large temperature variations, discomfort, and inefficiency. Most of the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in Canada work based on a single-zone design in which only one thermostat with a single temperature sensor turns the system on and off. Such a simple system cannot provide a dynamic response to extreme outdoor conditions, especially in large or multi-level buildings, causing a drastic temperature difference throughout levels and rooms.
With the support of Mitacs and University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon-based tech company, SenergyK Innovative Creations, has been developing an innovative technology called UCTUPUS.
According to industry partner Soheil Akbari, the novel energy management and distribution system converts common single-zone central HVAC systems into a multi-zone system. In addition, it continuously monitors the temperatures in different rooms of the house and provides a real-time, dynamic response to address the occupant’s desires using intelligent airflow distribution algorithms.
Mitacs postdoc fellow helps boost research at UCTUPUS
Leading the research on the project is Farid Bahiraei, a Mitacs postdoctoral fellow who has extensive knowledge in advanced thermal management systems design, hardware programming, and wireless sensor networks for internet of things applications. He obtained his PhD in mechanical engineering in 2017.
“Farid helped the company prove the feasibility of the technology by conducting research to validate potential improved energy efficiencies and thermal comfort in Canadian residences,” emphasizes Soheil.
Simply put, UCTUPUS is a state-of-the-art, fully integrated, multi-zone solution that can reduce energy consumption by 40 percent and increase the thermal comfort in residential buildings. Such benefits will positively impact North American households.
“The technology has a great potential of being exported to the United States, targeting up to 55 million residential buildings with central HVAC systems,” adds Soheil.
Leveraging Mitacs funding to attract top talent and strengthen company growth
SenergyK gained a competitive advantage by having a Mitacs postdoc on board. The company had direct access to highly skilled talent and university facilities and resources.
“Providing funding to early stage technology startup companies helps the great ideas to come to reality. In our case my company would not be able to 100 percent fund the salary of the researcher. Mitacs’s contribution has been essential from the early days. It has provided my company with the right, high-quality expertise at the right time.”
The outcomes of the internship have helped Saskatchewan’s job market as SenergyK is expanding its business and is actively looking for great talent, like Farid, to achieve its business objectives and generate strong demand across Canada and the United States.
Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada for their support of the Elevate research fellowship in this story. Across Canada, the Elevate program also receives support from the Government of British Columbia, the Government of Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, and the Government of Saskatchewan.
Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities: BD@mitacs.ca