Our Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre (SEARC
) is an applied research centre under the school of Applied Science and Computing at St. Lawrence College.
’s mission is to provide applied research services to small and medium-sized enterprises in the renewable energy industry within the Eastern Ontario region. Research activities such as new product development, product improvement, prototype development, field testing, process improvement and commercialization of new products are within the scope of our work at SEARC
. The research centre leverages the resources of St. Lawrence College: faculties, staff, students and equipments to assist SMEs
to become more profitable.
Over the long term, SEARC
aims to increase the economic development of the Eastern Ontario region and create new quality jobs based on know-how and technological innovation. This will be achieved by increasing the capacity of St. Lawrence College to transform the results of research and development (R&D) into economic activities easier and faster.
SEARC is funded by Natural Science and Engineering Resources Council of Canada (NSERC) through the College and Community Innovation program (CCI). The objective of the CCI Program is to increase innovation at the community and/or regional level by enabling Canadian colleges to increase their capacity to work with local companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Some of the applied research activities that have been completed or are in the process at SEARC are; Energy Optimization of a cold storage facility in Trenton Ontario, Snow effect on Solar Photovoltaic System’s performance, Investigation of the improvement percentage of a Solar PV single axis tracker system over a fixed solar PV system , performance investigation of a Solar Air heating system and collaboration with The Monieson Centre, Queen's School of Business assessing feasibility of a biomass electricity generation facility utilizing forestry waste as feedstock for the Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation
The energy optimization project is a collaborative work involving SEARC and Trenton Cold Storage Limited (TCS). TCS operates 5 cold storage warehouses in the Quinte Ontario area, in addition to other locations. A large part of the overall cost to operate the facilities is the cost of the electrical energy. The cold storage facilities operate 24/7 and have electrical loads from refrigeration, lighting, and fork truck battery charging. Research was conducted in order to monitor and develop strategies to reduce electrical energy cost used in the facilities.
The Study on the effect of snow on solar photovoltaic performance (or Snow study) is in collaboration is in collaboration with researchers from the Applied Sustainability Group at Queen’s University and 16 other companies. This research will provide highly accurate and practical data on PV performance year round. Beyond providing practical information to industry and a test platform for advanced PV system design research, the system will also be integrated into the curriculum of the ESET program at St. Lawrence College, helping to train the next generation of PV installers and developers. In the first year of the snow study, there will be a particular focus on investigating the effects of snowfall on PV systems.
The comparison of single axis Solar PV tracker system with a fixed PV Solar System is an applied research partnership project involving Upper Canada Solar Inc. and SEARC. This research results will determine the percentage increase in power output of a PV tracker system over the output of a fixed system.