CNA Burin campus making waves in applied research

ST. JOHN'S, NL, Nov. 25, 2011 /CNW/ - Researchers at College of the North Atlantic's (CNA) Burin campus are developing a pump which has the potential to benefit isolated communities and could result in the development of an onshore aquaculture industry. The project will be made possible through an investment totalling $3.4 million by federal, provincial and private partners.

The aim of the project is to build a second generation wave powered device to pump high volumes of sea water. The pump will be a moored semi-submersible platform with a float actuated piston pump at the centre. The potential applications of this pump include shore-based and sea-based aquaculture, industrial heating and cooling and electrical generation.

"This project exemplifies the research and innovation potential that exists in rural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador," said the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister Responsible for the Research & Development Corporation (RDC). "Today's investment highlights College of North Atlantic's research expertise and interest in working with local companies and communities to further development opportunities in rural areas."

Major partners in the project include, the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) with a $2,290,000 investment through their College and Community Innovation (CCI) program and the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador which is providing $496,000 in funding. The National Research Council's Institute for Ocean Technology will be providing engineering design assistance for the development of the platform.

Outcomes of the project could allow a shore-based aquaculture industry to develop in areas where traditional aquaculture is not possible, profitable nor environmentally sustainable; it can also provide a new renewable energy source to isolated communities and infrastructure; and it will result in the development of a state of the art centre for the testing of devices that will be exposed to the harsh North Atlantic environment.

"These CCI investments provide colleges with access to the people, resources and tools they need to be at the forefront of innovation," said Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC, which administers the program. "The ultimate goal is to create sustainable partnerships that will help sharpen our innovative edge and will have a positive impact on the bottom line of our country and industry."

"The research and development being conducted at CNA's Burin campus has significant potential to support the technical needs of the aquaculture industry in this province," said Glenn Janes, Chief Executive Officer, RDC. "At the same time, the project scope supports the creation of highly-qualified personnel with opportunities to recruit, foster and retain research talent as well as provide students with valuable hands-on research, training and work experience."

Investments are not limited to government stakeholders; local fish harvesters are supporting the development of infrastructure at the Lord's Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador test site and the project has received a significant level of support from the local communities and town councils. The test site work will be done in conjunction with the Lord's Cove Harbour Authority and local seafood processing company, Ocean Choice International.

"The possibilities surrounding this project are immense, and not just from an applied research perspective," said Ann Marie Vaughan, President of CNA. "This project has the potential to revitalize coastal communities in several ways. It is these possibilities that solidified investments through NSERC's College and Community Innovation program, the RDC and garnered the support of a number of local partners. They all recognize the importance of this project and the impact that it can have on the social and economic framework of this region."

Project administrator, Dr. Mike Graham, said the project should produce exciting results in the areas of renewable energy and aquaculture development.

"Our first project, constructed in 2006 and funded by ACOA's AIF program, provided some baseline data for the Lord's Cove site, and some important lessons regarding the development and deployment of wave energy devices," said Dr. Mike Graham, project administrator, who also noted that a steering committee has been established to guide the implementation and oversight of the project. "This project will be using that data and learning to develop and optimize a device to capture this renewable energy source, to develop sustainable aquaculture methods, and to develop a unique testing centre for wave energy research. It's a rare case of a combination of blue sky and grey seas combining to make green."

SOURCE Research

For further information:

Roger Hulan
Communications Specialist
College of the North Atlantic

Scott Barfoot
Director of Communications
Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290

Jeff Green
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Research & Development Corporation
709-758-0973, 691-8892

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