Christine Zeindler

Email: christine.zeindler@ubc.ca


 

Majid Moradzadeh, doctoral student in power engineering, poses in front of an electric vehicle power station at UBCO.

Majid Moradzadeh, doctoral student in power engineering, poses in front of an electric vehicle power station at UBCO.

Fossil fuels a key part of keeping plug-in vehicles on the road

New research from UBC Okanagan aims to improve the efficiency and cost associated with charging electric vehicles.

Despite the perception that electric vehicles are environmentally friendly, the reality is that most of the electricity used to power these vehicles is generated by fossil fuels, says Majid Moradzadeh, a doctoral student at UBCO’s School of Engineering.

“Renewable energy sources are currently a small part of the larger electricity generation system,” explains Moradzadeh. “Due to the variability of electricity output by these renewable sources, energy storage systems are vital to ensuring continuous power is available.”

In the first study of its type, Moradzedeh developed a comprehensive planning method specifically for fast-charging stations. The method considers a wide range of technical and operation features of renewable resources, energy storage systems and the electric vehicles’ charging demand. The goal is to create a fast-charging station at minimal optimum cost, while meeting its performance requirements.

The proposed cost-efficient and sustainable fast-charging station prioritizes the source of its power whether it be renewable, from storage or the main distribution system. It also mitigates the adverse impacts of charging electric vehicles on the distribution network.

“The key to building sustainable electric vehicle infrastructure is to ensure that it is economical,” says Morad Abdelaziz, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at UBCO. “By developing a planning method, we are building a roadmap towards fast-charging stations that can seamlessly target renewable sources of power instead of relying on existing fossil-fuel-powered sources.”

According to Moradzedeh, the findings will be used by governments to help establish future charging stations while highlighting reduced peak power usage and opportunities to postpone the distribution system upgrade.

The findings were published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

UBC Okanagan alumnus Ephraim Nowak.

UBC Okanagan alumnus Ephraim Nowak.

Percept Systems is one of few companies in Western Canada licensed for medical supply manufacturing.

UBC Okanagan alumnus Ephraim Nowak has mobilized his Kelowna company to produce more than 1,000 face shields per day in an effort to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

His company, Percept Systems, which produces specialized computer vision systems for the aviation industry, is among the few in Western Canada to have obtained a federal government contract to supply this equipment to medical facilities across the country.

“This was the right thing to do,” says Nowak who completed his master’s degree with UBCO’s School of Engineering in 2018. “We were aware of the shortage of these critical medical supplies and wanted to pivot and help out where we could. That’s what we do.”

Nowak explains they changed the company’s priorities to respond to the Canadian government’s plea for assistance in medical supply manufacturing. It took Percept’s research and development team 48 hours to produce a design to make medical-grade face shields.

Their initial proposal involved using a 3D printer, which took two hours to produce one shield—too long by manufacturing industry standards. They then tried using a laser cutter to carve pre-purchased plastic into a face shield. This trimmed the manufacturing time to two minutes.

“It is challenging to retool the manufacturing focus of a company,” says Homayoun Najjaran, associate director of the manufacturing engineering program at UBCO, who consulted on Percept’s proposal. “Agile manufacturing, the ability to retool based on the customer need, is exactly where the future of manufacturing is. It is a great accomplishment that Ephraim and his team were awarded the contract and that their shields are licensed to use by Health Canada.”

Nowak acknowledges his partnership with Kelowna’s Orchard Park Shopping Centre for helping him increase Percept’s manufacturing capacity.

“Orchard Park Shopping Centre quickly provided us with suitable space for the manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of our shields,” he says. “It’s an innovative use of available space and I’m very grateful for their help in making this a reality.”

“We are very proud to be able to support a local company like Percept Systems as they do their part to assist in alleviating the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage for health-care workers,” said Donna Markin, general manager of Orchard Park Shopping Centre.

Percept Systems is rapidly expanding and implementing new technologies in their processes, with the goal of ensuring that Canada has a secure domestic source of PPE manufacturing.

As BC begins lifting restrictions, Percept Systems is receiving significant interest from local companies and medical practices requesting their VISI-GUARD face shields. For more information, visit: www.perceptsystems.ca/visi-guard

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

Currently there are more than 1,600 active research projects underway at UBCO.

UBCO stories you may have missed in 2019

UBCO Okanagan has grown to a student population of more than 10,000. With this growth, has come new research opportunities—currently there are more than 1,600 active projects. UBCO researchers are challenging established assumptions, innovating solutions and creating new knowledge that will have broad impacts on our society. Here are some of the accomplishments reached in 2019.

Promoting resilient environments

UBCO biologists have discovered a new source of carbon dioxide in lake water that is used for irrigation. Their findings have practical applications for agriculture-based communities in arid regions. For more

Ecologists from UBCO and the University of Alberta have developed non-invasive methods for tracking animals, using DNA found in their feces, saliva and hair. These approaches will provide improved understanding of wildlife migration and population trends. For more

Supporting healthy people

UBCO has joined with international partners to determine how the human heart has adapted to engage in endurance physical activities. The findings will bring new insights to the international effort to reduce hypertensive heart disease—one of the most common causes of illness and death in the developed world. For more

UBCO researchers partnered with an international research team to complete 15 major scientific studies in Peru’s Cerro de Pasco to better understand how high altitude affects newcomers and Indigenous populations. This research is relevant for people who suffer from low oxygen health conditions including those with lung or heart disease. For more

A new Faculty of Medicine Research Centre, the first such facility outside the Lower Mainland, was established at UBC Okanagan. The Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management will serve as a provincial leader for research, knowledge translation and exchange in the urgent research field of chronic diseases. For more

Developing emerging technologies

UBC Okanagan researchers have discovered a new class of anti-ice surface coatings. These low interfacial toughness (LIT) materials ease the force required to remove ice from large areas, such as car windshields. For more

Researchers at UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering have developed a low-cost sensor that can be interlaced into textiles and composite materials. While the research is still ongoing, it may pave the way for smart clothing that can monitor human movement. For more

Building thriving communities

UBCO researchers were involved in an international study which found that people are more charitable if allowed to quickly claim tax credits for their donations. Their findings showed that changing the deadline for donations so they land close to tax time increased contributions by nine per cent. For more

Thanks to a visiting international fellowship, a UBCO professor is collaborating with the University of Exeter to promote and disseminate environmental humanities research. This field speaks to the interconnectedness of climate change, factory farming and human health. For more

UBC experts discuss Earth Day relevant research. Photo credit: Lael Parrott

UBC experts discuss Earth Day relevant research. Photo credit: Lael Parrott

Almost 50 years ago, millions gathered to protest the negative impacts of industry and development on the world. Since then, the tradition has continued with Earth Day, a global celebration that is recognized by more than one billion people in 192 countries. It is a day of civic and political action to focus on environmental issues such as biodiversity, sustainability, pollution, climate change and clean energy.

The following UBC Okanagan experts are available to discuss their research around these issues:

Cigdem Eskicioglu
Associate Professor of Engineering

- treatment of biological waste
- renewable energy
- organic fertilizer

More info: ourstories.ok.ubc.ca/stories/cigdem-eskicioglu

Greg Garrard
Associate Professor of Sustainability

- climate skepticism
- sustainability and culture

More info: ok.ubc.ca/in-the-field/chasing-the-whale

Karen Hodges
Professor of Biology

- ecology
- conservation biology
- predator-prey dynamics
- extinction risks
- species-at-risk legislation

More info: biol.ok.ubc.ca/faculty/hodges

Nancy Holmes
Associate Professor of Creative Writing

- Border Free Bees project
- pollinating insects
- habitat preservation

More info: ok.ubc.ca/okanagan-stories/hive-of-activity

Nathan Pelletier
NSERC/Egg Farmers of Canada Chair in Sustainability
Assistant Professor and Endowed Chair in Bio-economy Sustainability Management

- sustainable practices in the agri-food industry

More info: ourstories.ok.ubc.ca/stories/nathan-pelletier

Rehan Sadiq
Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Engineering

- water supply systems
- infrastructure management
- environmental risk analysis
- lifecycle thinking

More info: ok.ubc.ca/okanagan-stories/one-water

David Scott
Associate Professor, Earth Environmental and Geographic Sciences
Research Chair, Watershed Management

- hydrological effects of forest management and land use change
- effects of wildfire on hydrology and erosion
- effects of fast-growing timber plantations on streamflow
- environmental assessment

More info: eegs.ok.ubc.ca/faculty/scott

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.