Ontario Power Authority invests $1 million to drive commercialization of energy technologies through an innovative partnership with Ontario Centres of Excellence

    TORONTO, April 23 /CNW/ - Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. and
the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced today that they have entered into
a two-year, $1 million partnership to support innovative research and
development in energy in Ontario. The OPA and OCE share a vision of Ontario as
a leader of innovation in energy. The partnership, through the OPA's
Technology Development Fund, leverages the strengths of both organizations to
drive commercialization in this important area.
    "OCE is honoured to be partnering with the OPA, and we are eager to work
closely with them on this important initiative," says Mark Romoff, President
and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence. "OCE has been building its expertise
and portfolio in the energy sector since the founding of the Centre of
Excellence for Energy two years ago. The OPA's choice of OCE is recognition of
the cutting-edge work the Centre has been doing driving the commercialization
of innovative energy technologies in the province. This is a tremendous
    "Even though the electricity industry is more than 100 years old, the
need for innovation has never been greater," says Jan Carr, OPA Chief
Executive Officer. "The Ontario Power Authority is very happy to be working
with OCE's Centre of Excellence for Energy to help make it happen."
    OCE's role in the partnership will be to source, review, recommend, and
subsequently manage high-potential, pre-commercialization projects in energy
technology. Projects at this stage typically find it more difficult to sustain
themselves and attract the interest of investors. As a result of the
partnership, the OPA gains the advantage of OCE's 20-years of experience
accelerating the commercialization of early stage research. OCE in turn
connects in an integrated way to a key player in Ontario's energy sector. The
OPA and OCE share a common objective to help these projects and processes
achieve commercial viability.
    The partnership with the OPA increases OCE's capacity to invest in high
potential research. OCE's support reduces the uncertainty associated with
emerging technologies by engaging the best and brightest researchers in their
development. As a co-investor in research, OCE mitigates the financial
exposure of industry partners: the very people and companies who may adopt the
successful technologies as they emerge. The partnership allows the OPA to
leverage the Centre's expertise in creating productive industry/academia
    The OPA and OCE's Centre of Excellence for Energy have approved seven
projects. Projects include innovations in wind turbines, biofuel utilization,
efficient cooling and lighting, electricity system operations, and more. These
projects involve investments in research at institutions including Carleton
University, Centennial College, the University of Toronto and the University
of Waterloo. Additional projects will be identified in the coming months.

    About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.

    Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of
cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of
tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE
fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and
entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities,
colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. Celebrating 20 years
of innovation in 2007, OCE's five Centres work in communications and
information technology, earth and environmental technologies, energy,
materials and manufacturing and photonics.

    Ontario Power Authority

    In pursuit of its mandate of ensuring an adequate, long-term supply of
electricity for Ontario, the OPA creates and implements conservation and
demand management programs, ensures adequate investment in new supply
infrastructure, performs long-term electricity system planning, and
facilitates the development of a more sustainable and competitive electricity

    Project Brief

    Seven projects have been initiated to date through the Ontario Power
Authority's partnership with Ontario Centres of Excellence. The OPA and OCE
share a vision of Ontario as a leader of innovation in energy. The
partnership, through the OPA's Technology Development Fund, leverages the
strengths of both organizations to drive commercialization in this important

    Project 1

    Smart Hot Water Storage

      -  a special valve that allows automatic blending of hot and cold water
         at outlet of a water heater

      -  makes use of higher hot water temperatures possible, which in turn
         allows increasing efficiency and reducing size of water heaters

      -  potential benefit to gas-fired water heaters as well as electric

    Project 2

    Reducing peak energy consumption for large commercial users

      -  a load management system with a twist

      -  control is accomplished without wiring or a central controller and
         therefore more cheaply installed and operated

      -  each load point in a plant or warehouse is connected to a smart
         switch which negotiates with all the other smart switches via
         wireless to ensure that not too many of them are on at same time

      -  reduces peak demand which reduces customer costs

    Project 3

    Using structure of fins of humpback whales to create a more effective
    wind turbine

      -  researchers have found that tubercles on whales' fins allow steeper
         dives and ascents than would be possible with smooth-edged fins

      -  tubercles allow airfoil to have a steeper angle of attack without

      -  on a wind turbine, this has the potential to begin generating power
         at lower wind speeds, thereby increasing number of hours per year
         each turbine could contribute to electricity supply

    Project 4

    Biofuel from poultry farming waste

      -  chickens produce considerable amount of raw material from which a
         liquid biofuel can be made

      -  developing technology to use this fuel in a Stirling engine which
         could then drive a generator

    Project 5

    Low-grade heat waste as power source for refrigeration

      -  developing a multi-cycle heat pumping process that has potential to
         improve energy efficiency in wide range of uses

      -  technology could 'collect' the low grade heat waste and convert it
         to a usable source of energy

    Project 6

    Efficiency through management of sources and flows of "reactive power"
    and other services

      -  Services such as the provision of reactive power, spinning reserves
         and black-start capability are essential to electricity system but
         not well suited to a competitive marketplace.

      -  Project explores ways to buy and sell services such as reactive
         power in a more economically efficient manner.

    Project 7

    "Smart" ballasts for commercial fluorescent lighting

      -  "smart ballast" to replace conventional ballast in fluorescent
         lighting fixture

      -  simple retrofit operation making existing lighting more intelligent
         and more efficient

For further information:

For further information: Ann Holtby, Marketing and Communications,
Ontario Centres of Excellence, at (416) 861-1092; or Tim Taylor, Media and
Public Relations, at (416) 969-6353 or tim.taylor@powerauthority.on.ca

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Ontario Centres of Excellence

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Ontario Power Authority

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