2021 News Archive

Researchers funded to examine microplastic contamination in the Great Lakes system

Tirupati Bolisetti at the Credit River bridge in Mississauga

Besides providing drinking water for more than 30 million people in North America, the Great Lakes play a vital role in the economy’s transportation, power and agriculture sectors.

Plastic pollution in these water bodies has been widely acknowledged for a great deal of time, says Tirupati Bolisetti, an environmental engineering professor at UWindsor. 

However, microplastics — particles that are 5 mm or smaller in size — hidden in the water are posing a much bigger problem for aquatic and human life.

“These ubiquitous microplastics are finding their way into the natural waters due to improper disposal of plastics, which degrade into small pieces,” Dr. Bolisetti says. “They come from plastic packaging, cosmetics, textiles, automotive components and plastic litter thrown on the beaches, to name a few.”

Some of these microplastics in the form of synthetic microfibers are also released from our wastewater systems, he adds.

A team of interdisciplinary researchers from the University of Windsor, including Bolisetti and Dr. Ram Balachandar, are collaborating with Dr. Shooka Karimpour and other researchers from York University to understand how microplastics originate and get transported to the western basin of Lake Ontario, called the Niagara basin. 

Engineering profs team with local greenhouse to reimagine electric grid distribution

A team of UWindsor engineering researchers envisions a future where electric transport trucks can deliver more than goods.

While loading or unloading zero emission trucks, why not transfer electrons too? The road-bound big rigs can deliver electricity to companies in need to extend the limits of the electrical grid at high-peak hours.

It’s a scenario Rupp Carriveau and Hanna Maoh are mapping out in partnership with MitacsIndependent Electricity System Operator360 Energy, and Leamington-based greenhouse grower, Nature Fresh Farms.

“Let’s say a truck is done for the day and still has an 80 per cent charge,” Dr. Carriveau explains. “That truck can deliver electrons to a nearby company that’s going to be hit with some penalties for having a high draw on the grid — maybe for the lights in a greenhouse or an electric press machine in a warehouse.”

Engineering professor lauded by professional association

Waguih EIMaraghy has been inducted into Professional Engineers Ontario’s Order of Honour for his dedicated contributions to the engineering profession as a volunteer and educator.

The University of Windsor professor was honoured among select engineersacross the province during a virtual awards ceremony June 19.

The licensing and regulating body for the province’s professional engineers cited Dr. EIMaraghy’s intense passion for the profession and community.

With more than three decades as a volunteer on its Academic Requirements Committee, EIMaraghy has pioneered and been instrumental in improving the Professional Engineer designation application process. He serves as the committee’s vice chair and chairs the distance education subcommittee, helping to develop guidelines and criteria for evaluating the credentials applicants acquire through distance education.

Engineering teams take top honours in smart infrastructure competition

Two teams of UWindsor engineering students have triumphed in an industry-led, pitch-off competition for their solutions to cross-border congestion at the future Gordie Howe International Bridge.

The teams impressed a panel of industry judges with their suggestions to implement mobile apps to reduce delays at the border and to facilitate the use of alternate modes of transportation to relieve congestion. The students also recommended using machine learning technologies, sensor-based systems, and even a suicide prevention system in plans for the new bridge, which is one of the largest infrastructure projects underway in North America.

The pitch-off competition hosted by Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) and Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) challenged post-secondary students in engineering, information technology, and business administration to utilize smart mobility technologies, data analytics, and new payment and security technologies to reduce cross-border congestion and wait times.

Study aims to diversify workforce for clean energy future



​A study led by UWindsor researchers aims to equip Canada with a diverse and inclusive pool of leaders for the clean energy sector of the future.

The Environmental Energy Institute’s Lindsay Miller and Rupp Carriveau say a new research program they’re spearheading will help bridge the gaps between the technical, economic, and political aspects of the nation’s energy sector.

“While our energy systems are presently undergoing an unprecedented spectrum of change, the same cannot be said for the conventional educational pathways that were designed to produce the highly qualified people (HQP) to drive the energy sector,” Dr. Miller says.

Using a multi-stakeholder approach, the initiative will inform clean energy curriculum development and encourage underrepresented minorities to pursue clean energy careers.

As leaders of the Climate Led Energy Evolution Network 2040, Miller and Carriveau have developed an international network of stakeholders across universities, businesses and government agencies with a vested interest in the future of energy systems.

This broad and diverse cross section of clean energy sector stakeholders will help identify gaps between skill sets and current Canadian post-secondary clean energy curriculum.

Engineering prof receives national civil engineering fellowship

Ram Balachandar has been recognized for his pursuit of excellence by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

Dr. Balachandar, a civil engineering professor, was elected as a fellow during the society’s annual conference held virtually between May 26 and 29.

In 2019, he received the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering’s Camille A. Dagenais Award for his research on open channel flows, fluid-structure interaction, and efforts in the area of scour, which have led to substantially improved design equations.

Balachandar has published 160 journal papers, eight book chapters, and more than 250 conference papers. He is an associate editor for the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering and was recently appointed as the section chief editor of the fluid mechanics section for Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering.

Partnership aims to develop cybersecurity solutions to promote transit rider safety

The University of Windsor’s SHIELD Automotive Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) to collaborate on innovative technology and knowledge mobilization designed to help public transit operators keep riders safe.

According to SHIELD co-founders Mitra Mirhassani, a UWindsor electrical and computer engineering professor, and Ikjot Saini from the School of Computer Science, the partnership will work to develop cybersecurity research, training, and awareness.

“If there’s one thing we have learned over the past year, it’s the importance of collaboration,” says CUTRIC president Josipa Petrunic. “CUTRIC is proud to be partnering with the University of Windsor as we set out on this new journey of strengthening and advancing our scientific, educational, and technological capabilities.”

Electric vehicle expert partners with industry on $1.8 million research project



​UWindsor engineering professor Narayan Kar is leading a new $1.8 million research project to make better electric drive systems.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has awarded the electric vehicle expert more than $1 million for the three-year project with Canadian auto parts supplier Magna International, Ottawa-based power device company GaN Systems, and a researcher at Concordia University. The industry partners will add more than $700,000 in in-kind contributions to the research.

“With this project, we want to create a paradigm shift in the field of transportation electrification,” said Dr. Kar. “We hope to give Canada a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.”

The research project will examine several elements of the electric drive system and make improvements. The goal is to make electric vehicles more powerful, efficient, and reliable, while making them less costly to produce and maintain.

Iranian student honoured to be first recipient of memorial scholarship for plane crash victims

Shayan Shirzadian is the first first recipient of the Iranian Students Memorial Scholarship - Remembering Flight PS752.

It was just a casual conversation with a fellow UWindsor graduate student, but one Shayan Shirzadian will always remember.

He and engineering doctoral candidate Hamidreza Setareh Kokab, both international students, talked about living in Canada. Setareh Kokab was happy to offer advice.

“My overall feeling from our conversation was that I was joining a community with great people who love to help,” Shirzadian says. “It left an impression on me.”

A month later, Shirzadian was shocked to learn Setareh Kokab’s life was taken in a plane crash in Iran while returning to campus for the winter semester. The incident claimed the lives of all 176 on board, including four other members of UWindsor’s community — engineering doctoral candidates Pedram Jadidi and Zahra Naghibi and her spouse Mohammad Abbaspour Ghadi and biology research assistant Samira Bashiri.

They were caring friends and talented researchers who were on the cusp of promising careers. Countless stories emerged as the campus community mourned such a significant loss.

An immediate outpouring of support from the UWindsor community and general public followed to establish the Iranian Students Memorial Scholarship - Remembering Flight PS752, a graduate scholarship that will annually support two international students conducting vital research in the Faculties of Engineering and Science.

Research in modern manufacturing earns honour for engineering professor

Calling her “an inspiration for women in research and engineering around the world,” Denmark’s Aalborg University conferred an honorary doctorate on UWindsor professor Hoda ElMaraghy in an online ceremony April 15.

Aalborg’s Faculty of Engineering and Science noted Dr. ElMaraghy’s contributions to the development of modern manufacturing systems. A distinguished university professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering and director of the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Centre, she pioneered the use of “learning factories” in teaching and research. A “Smart Production Lab” at Aalborg University was inspired by her work.

ElMaraghy and four other honorees — women academics from France, Norway, and the United States — participated in a round-table discussion on the theme “Research collaborations in a changed world” before the awards ceremony.