‘Grown-up science fair’ produces real-world solutions
Atlantic Canada’s first expo dedicated to clean technologies and green and healthy living is taking place this weekend at UPEI.
More than 20 student teams are presenting their projects to high school students, industry representatives, and the public at the Atlantic Canadian Green Expo, at UPEI’s School of Sustainable Design Engineering.
The expo shows the importance of green living and our collective need to address global climate change, a message that is especially relevant today, on Earth Day.
“It’s like a grown up science fair,” said third-year bio-resource major Angela Court, whose team is working to revolutionize the way Island potatoes are cleaned after harvest.
The expo aims to introduce consumers and businesses to innovative products and services and to the vendors who supply them.
Organizers hope to encourage businesses and consumers to make eco-conscious choices and to purchase more eco-friendly products.
Court, and Peter Doiron are part of a four-person team called “Spuddy Waters” that worked with PEI Potato Solutions, a company serving as a liaison between farmers and Cavendish Farms.
The team is working on ways to clean the water used by the company so potatoes can be washed with recycled water. This will reduce the company's consumption of fresh water and allow them to dispose of the water, remove the odour and reduce the harm to surrounding wildlife and environment.
“Because they can’t dump the water, they’re reaching capacity on how much their water system can hold,” Doiron said.
The team, which also includes fourth-year team lead Ryan Myette and third-year student Tristan Dawson, has created a mechanical filter with no moving parts. And, as a bonus, it comes with an appealing price tag.
“They were looking in The Netherlands to purchase a water filter, but it was more than a million dollars and they would have to hire a person to run it,” Court said. “Ours is just about $40,000 and uses natural resources.”
Allan Dale, the School of Sustainable Design Engineering’s director of Industry Partnership, says the Atlantic Canadian Green Expo is about merging academia with industry.
“Our school is working hand and glove with the renewable energy sector,” Dale said. “In turn, our students work with community and industry partners in every year of their four-year program. They work on real problems for real people.”