Researchers at U of T Engineering are at the forefront of the most pressing environmental issues of today. Our efforts influence policy makers, institutions and the public in order to make more informed decisions and bring about positive, sustainable change.
State-of-the-art resources and laboratories, multidisciplinary collaboration, a myriad of funding opportunities and potential for a broad range of industry partnerships make U of T Engineering the ideal place for students and faculty to make their footprint on the world – while reducing their footprint on the environment.
Here are some examples of sustainable projects at U of T Engineering:
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Professor Heather MacLean in the Department of Civil Engineering is researching novel methods for evaluating the sustainability of products, processes and engineering projects. She has made key contributions in developing novel methods to examine issues related to transportation, energy and urban systems.
In addition to her research, she has created several innovative courses that promote sustainable practices, including the graduate course “Evaluating Sustainability of Engineering Activities”, the first course in Canada – and among the first worldwide – that focused on introducing and applying sustainability and life cycle evaluation methods.
Small Scale, Big Impact
Professor David Sinton in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering has made outstanding research contributions in the area of microfluidics—the science of controlling fluids at a microscopic scale – most notably for energy applications. He has become a globally recognized leader in this area for his pioneering work in pore-scale microfluidics, fluid property analysis, fuel cells and bioenergy.
Sinton is also the director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at the University of Toronto. He leads a research team at The Sinton Lab, developing methods for using microfluidics to help mitigate carbon dioxide emissions in oil recovery, generate biofuels, and even aid in assisted reproduction and public health.
Better Air Quality
Led by Professor Greg Evans in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, the Southern Ontario Centre for Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR) is an interdisciplinary centre for the study of air quality with a focus on how aerosols impact human health and the environment. While the link between human health and poor air quality is generally understood, SOCAAR addresses significant uncertainties associated with urban air such as the composition of urban particulate matter, the role of large urban areas as a source of particulate matter and its impact on climate and cloud formation. Using a new generation of technology and equipment such as an Aerosol Time-of-Flight Laser Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS), SOCAAR is the only centre in the world with such a wide range of research capabilities. In addition to furthering our understanding of urban air, SOCAAR’s findings will help to mould public policy, guidelines and regulations for air quality in Canada.