Home Applied Research Comes of Age Work-integrated learning and the student experience

Work-integrated learning and the student experience

Work-integrated learning and the student experience

When Jacob Woods enrolled in a 2-year Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology diploma program at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), he did so looking for a rewarding and stable career in Canada’s energy sector. Amid changes in the oil and gas sectors, Woods turned to renewable energy and sustainability.

To fulfill the research requirement of his final year, Woods undertook an applied research project with Rexel Atlantic, a regional branch of global electrical equipment supplier Rexel, during which he was tasked with field testing and analysis to gain insight into how electric vehicle battery storage can be used to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the electrical grid itself.

Being able to work with high-performance buildings, electric vehicles, and cutting-edge technology has set him up for success, says Woods, already the recipient of the first-place prize awarded by the Canadian Technologist Accreditation Board for the report submitted at the end of his research placement. In fact, he is now employed with NSCC’s Energy Research Team.

Energy, including developing both new energy technologies and new methods of collecting and analyzing energy data, is one of the five main areas of focus for NSCC’s Applied Research team.

“We know that one of the main challenges within the field of renewables is the issue of energy storage — we can extract energy from solar, wind, geothermal and tidal, but how do we hold onto it? Through the innovative work of researchers like Jacob and his colleagues in NSCC’s Applied Energy Research (AER) Lab, we’re uncovering reliable, cost-effective solutions to this very issue,” says Jeff Taylor, Associate Vice President of Applied Research & Innovation at NSCC.

“This kind of research has the potential to transform the world’s energy technology sector.”


Working to find innovative solutions to real-world problems, the college has partnered on research projects with local businesses including Rexel, Solar Global Solutions (SGS), a renewable energy company specializing in the design, supply, and construction of high quality solar power and energy storage systems; and Neothermal Energy Storage Inc., a clean energy start-up working to provide lower-cost home heating solutions.

Similarly, across the country at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) in Prince George, BC, a research team, including two students, worked with Endura-Form Plastic Solutions Ltd to develop and test energy-efficient methods of heating greenhouses in cold-climate regions. Given Prince George’s limited growing season, students involved in the project experimented with using heating panels to reduce the germination period for vegetables such as radishes, beans, and kale.

The project involved both testing the panels as a reliable solution to boost germination as well as assessing the feasibility of the panel heating with regard to energy consumption, said Sorin Pasca, Director of CNC’s Applied Research and Innovation office.

By helping develop solutions to extend the growing season – and to eventually achieve year-round food production – projects like these could help significantly improve sustainable economic development and local food availability in the region.


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