Can ultraviolet light help hospitals disinfect their supply of masks and gowns? U of T Engineering UV expert explains
U of T Engineering News — April 6, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to mount, hospitals are finding themselves short of masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Some are doing what would previously have been unthinkable — disinfecting and reusing PPE.
One way to do this is with ultraviolet (UV) light, which is already used to disinfect patient rooms and operating theatres. In theory, it could also be applied to disinfect PPE, but as Professor Ron Hofmann (CivMin) explains, the devil is in the details. More>>
A.U.G. Signals: Near-real-time readings help drinking water plants keep THMs in check
Southern Ontario Water Consortium — August 21, 2018
Across North America, drinking water treatment plants have to keep trihalomethanes (THMs) — a potential carcinogen — below strict limits.
However, if they don’t have sophisticated gas chromatography equipment and trained specialists on site, plants must rely on commercial labs to test their samples. That means waiting up to a week to get results, which can delay action to address high TMH levels. Considering that each test costs somewhere in the range of $120 to $150, frequent testing gets expensive.
Imagine the difference it would make to get results in an hour, for just two dollars per test. That’s the promise of new technology from A.U.G. Signals Ltd. (AUG), a Toronto-based leader in sensor technology. More>>
Professor Jennifer Drake wins 2018 OPEA Engineering Medal for Young Engineers
U of T Engineering News — May 24, 2018
Four U of T Engineers have been honoured by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) and Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) with Ontario Professional Engineers Awards. Professor Jennifer Drake (CivMin) received the Young Engineer Medal, for an early-career engineer who has demonstrated professional excellence as well as service to the community. More>>
Elements of bio-mining: Engineering collaboration aims to turn mine waste into valuable metals
U of T Engineering News — September 13, 2017
They are invisible to the naked eye, able to withstand extreme conditions and capable of breathing rocks. They are the microbes that thrive in tailings ponds at mining sites around the world, and a team of Canadian researchers believes they are the key to transforming waste material into something much more valuable. More>>
How green roofs can protect city streets from flooding
The Conversation — August 28, 2017
Spring and summer 2017 have been among the wettest on record in eastern North America. And the world is watching Houston this week, where the remains of Hurricane Harvey have caused devastating flooding.
Rainfall amounts in the spring broke records in places like Toronto, where 44.6 millimetres of rain fell in 24 hours. The downpours earlier this spring caused the stormwater infrastructure in Canada’s biggest city to overflow, leading to flooding of busy downtown streets. More>>
#EveryDropMatters: Five ways U of T Engineering research is improving water sustainability
U of T Engineering News — August 15, 2017
Fresh water, salt water, wastewater, industrial water, drinking water: all water on Earth is part of the same cycle — and every drop matters. Yet around the world, water supply and quality are under increasing pressure from growing populations, industrial development and climate change.
U of T Engineering researchers are leading the way in addressing these pressing global challenges. Professors and students are working together to use UV light to destroy chemical contaminants, develop low-cost solutions for sanitation and effectively control and mitigate pollution by studying and deploying ancient microorganisms. More>>
U of T Engineering invention could help Nicaraguan farmers save water
U of T Engineering News — May 30, 2017
Anna Jiang (MIE MASc candidate) cannot show off her thesis project because it is half-buried in the soil of Pedro Arauz, Nicaragua.
“I can show you the graveyard of things that didn’t work,” she says. “It took countless tries to arrive at my final design.”
Jiang, who is supervised by Professor Amy Bilton (MIE), aims to help farmers worldwide make better use of the little water they have for irrigation. Her device senses when the soil requires water and regulates the flow accordingly, all without the use of electricity. More>>
A window on the future: Institute for Water Innovation partners with industry and government on next-generation clean water technologies
U of T Engineering News — April 27, 2017
Around the world, billions of people expect clean, safe drinking water whenever they turn on a tap. Through strategic partnerships with industry and governments, Civil Engineering professors Ron Hofmann and Bob Andrews are ensuring that they get it not only today, but for decades to come. More>>
Sponging up oil from tailings ponds
U of T Engineering News — February 27, 2017
Oil and water don’t mix — in theory. In reality, the two liquids can be almost impossible to separate, especially from complex chemical cocktails such as the wastewater produced by Alberta’s oil sands mining operations.
Contaminated by small amounts of bitumen and other oily substances, this wastewater can’t be discharged to the environment and is held in vast ponds awaiting treatment. A new potential solution developed by U of T Engineering researchers starts with a surprisingly simple device: a sponge. More>>
The invisible clean-up crew: Engineering microbial cultures to destroy pollutants
University of Toronto — February 17, 2017
U of T engineering professor Elizabeth Edwards is internationally recognized for using biotechnology to clean up industrial solvents in soil and groundwater. Her technique earned her the prestigious Killam Prize in 2016 and has already been used to restore more than 500 sites around the world. More>>
Ancient Microbes Could Offer Insight on Better Mining Wastewater Strategies
U of T Engineering News — December 8, 2016
Wastewater from a mine doesn’t sound like a cozy habitat, but for untold numbers of microorganisms, it’s home sweet home. A new research project led by Professor Lesley Warren (CivE) will examine how these microbes make their living by studying their genes — an insight that could help further reduce the environmental footprint of the mining industry. The $3.7-million endeavour is funded in part by Genome Canada through the Large Scale Applied Research Projects (LSARP) program. More>>
Forward Water Draws on U of T Expertise to Advance Forward Osmosis Technology
Southern Ontario Water Consortium — August 24, 2016
Going with the flow is an adage Forward Water Technologies won’t argue with.
The Mississauga, Ontario company has developed a new forward osmosis technology that uses engineered “switchable salts” to purify wastewater. It’s a low-energy process for bulk cleanup of industrial wastewater streams and is aimed at alleviating the global demand for fresh water and reducing the volume of wastewater requiring treatment and disposal. More>>
New Funding will Help Commercialize Pollution-Eating Microbes
U of T Engineering News — July 11, 2016
Professor Elizabeth Edwards (ChemE) and her team have developed a secret weapon in the war against pollution: a mix of micro-organisms that eat toxic chemicals for breakfast. New funding announced today by Genome Canada will help Edwards and her industrial partners bring the unique microbial culture to market. More>>
Bioremediation Expert Professor Elizabeth Edwards wins Killam Prize
U of T Engineering News — April 18, 2016
Professor Elizabeth Edwards (ChemE) has been named among this year’s Killam Prize winners. Presented by the Canada Council for the Arts, the awards honour eminent Canadian scholars and scientists actively engaged in research. More>>
Three Smart Solutions from the Institute for Water Innovation
U of T Engineering News — March 23, 2016
Population growth, climate change and environmental degradation are intensifying pressures on global water supplies, hastening the need for innovations that will improve access to clean water for drinking, food production and sanitation. More>>