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Student Design Expo kicks off three-day showcase of sustainable, green engineering

Events include the SSDE Design Expo, Industry Engagement Day, and the Atlantic Green Expo, April 21-23
Thursday, April 13, 2017

The University of Prince Edward Island's School of Sustainable Design Engineering (SSDE) annual Student Design Expo on April 21 will kick off a three-day showcase of the best in student, sustainable, and green engineering in Atlantic Canada.

Student Design Expo, Friday, April 21, 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm

More than 20 student projects will be set up for public viewing at various stations around the first floor of the School of Sustainable Design Engineering. Each project is the result of collaboration between UPEI SSDE students and an industry or community partner. Students were tasked with designing and creating solutions to their partners’ unique challenges.

The Student Design Expo begins with a short ceremony at 1:00 pm. Projects are available for viewing through the afternoon, with the Student Award Ceremony beginning at 4:00 pm.

All are welcome. A complete list of projects can be found below.

Industry Engagement Day, Friday, April 21

The annual Industry Engagement Day engages the community and industry partners by presenting the SSDE program and team. The day is highlighted with the Student Design Expo, an excellent opportunity to tour all student design clinic projects and celebrate student success. The day is capped off with a keynote presentation at 5:30 pm by Dr. Peter Childs, head of the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London, and a reception.

Atlantic Green Expo, presented by E365, Friday, April 21 to 23

Atlantic Green Expo is the first expo in Atlantic Canada dedicated to clean technology, green living, and healthy lifestyles. It will provide Atlantic Canadians with an opportunity to educate themselves about the importance of green living and our collective need to address global climate change. We aim to stimulate this growing industry by introducing consumers and businesses to innovative products and services, and to the vendors who supply them. Atlantic Green Expo hopes this will encourage businesses and consumers to make eco-conscious choices and to purchase more eco-friendly products.

Atlantic Green Expo is an initiative of PEI-based company E365, in partnership with Transform Events & Consulting, UPEI Climate Lab, UPEI School of Sustainable Design Engineering, and Sierra Club Canada.

Keynote Presentations:

Dr. Peter Childs
Friday, April 21, 5:30 pm

Dr. Childs is head of the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London. His professional interests include creativity tools and innovation, design, heat transfer and rotating flow, the circular economy, and sustainable energy. Former roles include director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre for Aero-Thermal Systems, director of InQbate, and professor at Sussex University. He has contributed to over 150 papers and several books on engineering design, rotating flow, rural urban migration, and sports technology. He has been principal or co-investigator on contracts totalling £30 million. He is director and chief scientific officer at Q-Bot Ltd.

Hon. David MacDonald
Saturday, April 22, 4:00 pm

Hon. David MacDonald was born and raised in PEI. Beginning in 1965, he was a Member of Parliament for 20 years including a stint as Secretary of State and Minister of Communications. He was the first chair of the House of Commons Committee on the Environment from 1989–1993. In that role, he actively participated in preparations for the first Earth Summit in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He taught “Impediments to a Sustainable Society” at Concordia University in Montreal from 1995–2005. Serving as a special advisor on indigenous justice and residential schools from 1998–2015, he worked closely with Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was a keynote speaker on the Fate of the Oceans at the Coastal Zone Canada Conference in 2010 and a member of an expert panel in Geneva, Switzerland, on a new international financial and economic architecture in 2013–2014.

For more information, on Atlantic Green Expo, including a complete schedule, visit atlanticgreenexpo.com.

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.


Media contact: Dave Atkinson, UPEI
(902) 620-5117, datkinson@upei.ca


School of Sustainable Design Engineering

List of 2016-2017 Student Projects


Community Design


Client: Parks Canada-Sable Island Reserve

Parks Canada works on behalf of the people of Canada to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage and foster public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment in ways to ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations.


Remote and isolated, Sable Island is one of Canada’s furthest offshore islands and was established as Parks Canada’s 43rd national park in December 2013. Its shifting sand dunes and extensive beaches are home to wild horses and the world’s biggest breeding colony of grey seals. A freshwater lens floats below the island, providing freshwater ponds for plants, birds, and insects, some of which are found nowhere else on earth.

Maintaining sustainable and accessible infrastructure in a harsh environment such as Sable Island poses many challenges. The student teams will study these challenges and develop design concepts to address areas such as the optimization of renewable energy, infrastructure maintenance/remediation, and accessibility.

Junior Design

Client: Perfection Foods—Amalgamated Dairies Limited (ADL)

ADL is a producer-owned co-op with dairy processing and retail food distribution facilities throughout PEI. These plants process close to 100 million litres of fresh Island milk each year and employ over 250 staff. Perfection Foods, part of ADL, processes evaporated and sweetened milk for distribution throughout Canada and international export markets.


The Perfection Foods facility produces cans of evaporated and sweetened condensed milk at a set rate. After canning and pasteurization, the cans are quickly cooled for packing. Currently this is accomplished through a water spray system with the excess heat being discarded. The student team is developing a system that would be able to use the waste heat for a secondary purpose. The students are also exploring ways to reduce water consumption within the process.


Client: UPEI Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC)

With its first graduating class in 1990, the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) is the only institution in Atlantic Canada educating doctors of veterinary medicine. More than 1,400 graduates now work in private practice, academia, research, government, and industry worldwide.


AVC houses a wide range of animals on its campus to support short- and long-term student instruction. Keeping these animals requires AVC to manage a large amount of waste, especially for larger animals like horses and cows. Currently, animal waste removed from enclosures is dumped into a large roll-off bin that is designed for solid waste. The students assigned to this project are developing a system that will be able to manage both solid and liquid animal waste. The team is also researching opportunities to convert the animal waste into value-added products such as biogas and compost.


Client: Elanco Animal Health

Elanco’s Charlottetown site manufactures vaccines for the aquaculture market. The vaccines are used to prevent a variety of bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases, primarily in salmon and trout species. The company’s Victoria, PEI, site is an R&D facility dedicated to the development of the vaccines.


Elanco utilizes a number of varying sized stainless steel tanks to hold, blend, and heat a liquid mixture of buffer solution, antigens, and other ingredients. After every use, these tanks are required to be thoroughly cleaned and inspected before they can be steam sterilized for reuse. For cleaning and visual inspection, employees are required to enter the tanks. This poses a risk since the tanks are a confined space, and the entry and exit is through tight and hard–to-access locations. The student team is tasked with designing an alternate tank-cleaning process that is consistent, repeatable, and easily validated.


Client: Health PEI-Provincial Palliative Care Centre

Opened in March 2015, the Provincial Palliative Care Centre provides palliative care services for Island residents. Comprised of 10 inpatient beds, the facility also includes an outpatient clinic, respite care, space for families to meet for planning/counselling, a family lounge, and chapel. A key focus is to make patients and their families as comfortable as possible.


A number of Hygiene Lifter units were recently purchased to assist staff with transferring patients from their beds. Unfortunately, the Hygiene Lifter base interferes with the bottom structure of the hospital beds, preventing the lifter from reaching completely across the bed. Staff instead have to handle patients, resulting in added strain on the staff and patient discomfort. To address this issue, the student team is designing modifications to the existing equipment to allow for better integration and minimized patient handling.


Client: Master Packaging

Located in Borden-Carleton, PE, Master Packaging produces corrugated and folding carton packaging for export worldwide. Their high-quality boxes are in demand by some of the world’s largest, most familiar producers of products such as tissue, beer, pizza, and french fries.


Printing press paper is purchased in 5,000 lb rolls, inherently posing a material handling challenge.  Currently, an in-floor pneumatic system and trolley are used to load the paper rolls into the printing press but this system is underpowered and the trolley does not provide an adequate base. The student team is working on a redesigned in-floor and trolley system to optimize material handling.


Client: Parks Canada - Prince Edward Island

Parks Canada is a government agency with a mandate to protect and present outstanding representative examples of natural landscapes and natural phenomena that occur in Canada.


Water monitoring is done at various locations within PEI’s National Park. Instantaneous meter readings are easily carried out from a boat. Continuous unattended monitoring, however, poses some challenges since the monitoring device needs to remain in place. To assist Parks Canada, the student team is designing a support jig that can properly support the monitoring device; remain upright at a constant depth; keep wildlife off; will not be affected by wave, wind, and tidal conditions; and is easy to install and remove. 


Client: Raspberry Point Oyster Co.

A subsidiary of Cows PEI, Raspberry Point has been producing oysters for over 20 years. Their oysters are among North America’s most sought after products.


With the current cultivation system, oyster cages must be flipped every few weeks to de-foul and naturally clean oysters. To do this, a platform is lowered along the side of a boat, and two to three workers stand on the submerged platform and flip each cage. The student team is working on designing a mechanical system to flip the oyster cages to minimize the required labour while also causing little or no damage to the cage or boat.


Client: City of Summerside

Despite its small size, Summerside is a community with big ambition. Its economy comprises over 600 companies in a wide range of manufacturing, business services, transportation, retail, trade, education, and human service sectors. 


The clock on City Hall is a showpiece and a source of pride to the community. Its driving mechanism is a gravity weight, which needs to be wound manually every few days. To help keep the City of Summerside on time, the student team is designing a system to automate the winding process, eliminating the need for a person to climb the clock tower.


Client: Treetop Haven Inc.

Treetop Haven is currently doing the groundwork for a new ecotourism accommodation in Albany, PEI. The full plan will be to build a 4,000 square foot reception/conference building and five geodesic domes in the area of 800 square feet each.


To enhance the visitor experience, Treetop Haven wants to build a self-guided nature walk, including a section through the trees. This would be made up of elevated platforms around a tree with a suspended bridge connecting the platforms. The student team is working with this organization to design a tree walk that is unique and creative, while also considering the stability of trees in this location.


Client: UPEI Baja SAE Club

Baja SAE is a highly recognized, international intercollegiate competition during which teams design, build, and compete a mini Baja (buggy) in various static and dynamic challenges, ending in a four-hour-long endurance race. Begun in 2015, the UPEI Baja Club competed in its first competition in Rochester, NY, in May 2016, finishing an impressive 84th.


Weight is a major design consideration for teams competing in Baja SAE—minimizing weight will help cars go faster. To support UPEI’s competition entry, the student team is designing a suspended seat that is lightweight and  ergonomic for the driver, and will pass the safety and technical inspections at the competition. The design must also be able to sustain repetitive abuse from the competition course.


Client: UPEI Department of Physics

Dr. Derek Lawther, Department of Physics, is conducting radiation detection from particles emitted from the sun. 


The experimental setup is comprised of two detector units housed on each end of a telescopic cylinder, with the cylinder rotating in the horizontal and vertical axis. The student team is working on a second-generation device setup that allows for more precise calibrations and a greater level of repeatability of experimentation. 


Client: UPEI Robertson Library

The Robertson Library is the major research library for Prince Edward Island. Officially opened in 1975, it is located on the UPEI campus.


The Robertson Library is looking to streamline its operations by providing a self check-out option to its patrons. The student team is designing a system to support this, ensuring that the design is capable of reading and verifying student cards, scanning book barcodes, demagnetizing books, and finally printing a check-out receipt.


Client: Veggie Flats

Veggie Flats is a home-based business dedicated to providing a vegetable alternative to traditional bread products. Manufactured in the form of a flat bread, the product is primarily comprised of vegetables, making it very attractive to individuals with gluten sensitivities. As well, Veggie Flats products are a great and tasty way to include more vegetables in your diet.


Veggie Flats’ production challenge is how to form vegetable mash into a consistent flattened shape prior to the baking process. Due to the consistency of the mash, it sticks to commonly used surfaces in food production equipment. Therefore, workers need to manually flatten and shape the mash mixture, which is labour intensive and not profitable. The student team is working on an automated, repeatable, and cost-effective solution to eliminate the manual process.


Senior Design

Client: Aspin Kemp & Associates Inc. (AKA)

Aspin Kemp & Associates (AKA) is a systems integrator, delivering innovative products, technically advanced services, documentation, and world-class training primarily to the marine and offshore industry.


AKA’s hybrid systems are difficult to explain in a trade show setting. Wordy, technical and/or static explanations do not convey AKA’s message or engage trade show participants. The student team has been tasked with designing a multi-functional trade show prop that will effectively explain and demonstrate the benefits of AKA’s technology.


Client: Atlantec Bioenergy Corporation

Incorporated in 2006, Atlantec Bioenergy Corporation has been working to develop a commercially viable bio-refinery to produce advanced bioenergy from sugar beets, which is a non-traditional feedstock for this region. 


Prior to the fermentation and distillation processes, sugar beet feedstock is processed through a primarily mechanical extraction process. The student team is focusing on this extraction process, redesigning the process to recover more sugar from the feedstock.


Client: Bell Aliant Centre

The Bell Aliant Centre is the most comprehensive athletics facility for Charlottetown and surrounding area. Covering 160,000 square feet, this building houses an aquatics facility, two ice surfaces, and also space for other community and industry organizations.


The Bell Aliant Centre was designed to use the hot water from the arena’s refrigeration system to heat other areas of the facility. The operations team is able to reclaim enough heat from this hot water to heat the facility’s pools. However, there is still considerable excess hot water being redirected back down the well. The student team assigned to this project is analyzing the current facility design and modeling a system to optimize the use of the excess hot water.


Client: Honeywell

In existence since 1885, Honeywell is currently headquartered in Morris Plains, NJ, and operates 1,250 sites spanning 70 countries. Honeywell invents and manufactures technologies that address some of the world’s most critical challenges around energy, safety, security, productivity, and global urbanization. They are uniquely positioned to blend physical products with software to support connected systems that improve homes, buildings, factories, utilities, vehicles, and aircraft, and that enable a safer, more comfortable, and more productive world.


Within Honeywell’s Slemon Park facility, fuel controls are tested before and after each repair/overhaul activity. The set-up and take-down time for each test is considerable and renders the test stand unusable. The student team is designing a method and tools to reduce the test stand changeover time to increase throughput.


Client: PEI Bag Company

Established in 1935, the PEI Bag Company is a professional supplier of reliable packaging options to industries, including agriculture, fishing, food, and construction. Products produced are available in a variety of styles, formats, and sizes, and are composed of materials ranging from paper and burlap to synthetic materials such as woven or mesh polypropylene.


Sold in bundles of 6 or 15, the Eco Man bag product is a wet-strength, double-layer paper bag suitable for compostable kitchen waste. Production of this product runs on a multi-use press and conveyor. For other product runs, three employees can staff the line. Due to the Eco Man bundling requirements, three additional employees are required to sort, bundle, and band packages. The student team is designing a system to automate these process steps to satisfy the Eco Man bag requirements and to also accommodate other package size options.


Client: PEI Potato Solutions

Founded in 2014, PEI Potato Solutions operates as a full service preparation facility for Prince Edward Island potato growers. Product passed through this facility is cleaned, sorted, and scanned for foreign materials. 


With washing, water is inherently critical to operations. Since agriculture residue is removed, environmental legislation does not permit water used in the facility to be released, forcing the organization to manage a closed recycled water system. The student team is working on a design to improve/optimize the facility’s existing product-washing and water-filtration processes. With cleaner water, product throughput will be increased while using the same or less amount of water.


UPEI School of Sustainable Design Engineering

To support the School of Sustainable Design Engineering, UPEI officially opened a 76,000 square facility on August 4, 2016. Cutting-edge infrastructure within this building has been designed to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry-university collaboration.


With a tight opening deadline, the provision of photovoltaic and wind turbines components was not completed. The student team has been given the opportunity to further design the facility’s infrastructure to include, at minimum, one additional source of power derived from sustainable energy.

Dave Atkinson
Research Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications
(902) 620-5117
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