U of W engineering students show off latest innovations

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Windsor Star/Mary Caton



Cutting edge technology and creative problem solving filled the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation Friday.

The first floor of the University of Windsor building teemed with talent as fourth-year engineering students proudly displayed their capstone projects to faculty, donors, industry partners and perhaps most importantly, wide eyed first-year students touring the facilities the same day as part of a university head-start program.

“It’s perfect for (incoming) students to see what they can do here,” said Kristie Pearce, the faculty’s communications coordinator. Team-based projects are the culmination of the undergraduate program and a requirement for earning a degree.

Bobby Abali and seven mechanical engineering classmates designed a system using water from the Detroit River to expand district energy production for the City of Windsor.

District energy systems use either hot or cold water or even steam to produce energy at a central plant that is then distributed through underground piping.

“We looked at expanding the system using sustainable methods like deep water source cooling and we decided to take advantage of the Detroit River because it’s available,” Abali said.

Cool water is pulled from the bottom of the river and passed through a heat exchanger to absorb energy or a chiller before it’s sent to a plant for distribution.

Cole Nadalin is an energy expert with the city who collaborated on the project along with representatives from Enwave Energy and Enwin.

“We have a district energy system but they’ve tried to optimize it and develop opportunities to expand it,” Nadalin said. “It’s been a great multi-faceted experiential learning opportunity for them.”

Students designed safety innovations for cars, robots, an autonomous chess-playing machine, a racing lawnmower, a cardless security system and more.

Sandra Papo, Leah Krehling and Rosario Montaleone designed a sophisticated system for monitoring real-time greenhouse conditions.

Just as important as turning on and off lighting or adjusting temperatures, the system collects all manner of data for analysis to identify trends.

“We also created a full website to monitor everything,” said Papo, who, like her teammates, is wrapping up studies in electrical and computer engineering.

When the trio noticed the yellow sticky bug strips that are ever-present in a greenhouse operation, they discovered operators hire an inspector to count and identify the bugs collected on each strip.

So the team added bug detection software to their project to streamline the process.

Abigayle Diemer and her partners redesigned the problematic intersection of Wyandotte Street and California Avenue that’s just steps from the Lumley Centre.