Western’s wind energy research facilities received nearly $4 million as part of new federal investments in Canada’s research infrastructure.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, recognized the key role of research infrastructure in Canada’s research enterprise by announcing more than $628 million to support 19 research infrastructure projects at 14 institutions across the country.
As part of announcement, Minister Champagne announced that Western will receive $3,887,057 to support the Wind Engineering, Energy, and Environment (WindEEE) Research Facilities.
This contribution from the Government of Canada is being made through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science Initiative (MSI) Fund, which is designed to support the ongoing operation and maintenance needs of research facilities of national importance.
WindEEE is the only facility in Canada with a wind dome that can generate local and large weather systems, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, in a controlled environment. This advanced technology allows researchers to test and understand the effects of weather and climate change on infrastructure.
Home to two other wind facilities, WindEEE also includes the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory, where the structural safety of buildings and bridges all over the world are tested, and another facility dubbed the “Three Little Pigs,” where the impact of varying wind loads on full-scale houses is investigated – by testing them until they fall apart.
This new CFI funding provides essential support for ongoing operation and maintenance needs at the WindEEE research facilities to fulfil its principal goal of enhancing climate resiliency and sustainability of the built-environment and helping train the next generation of faculty, staff and students in climate and wind engineering.
“WindEEE is at the forefront of innovative research, creating new ways of measuring, testing, and finding engineering solutions for evolving challenges in wind and climate engineering. This support will help us maintain our leadership in climate and wind engineering research,” said WindEEE Research Facility director Girma Bitsuamlak.
Recognized as a national laboratory, open to all Canadian researchers, WindEEE’s sophisticated operations have demanding energy use and require highly skilled technicians and engineers even at an operational level.
“The MSI Fund allows WindEEE researchers, like me, the opportunity to achieve a better understanding of wind engineering and the ability to properly serve and service Canadian and international collaborators through various additional partnerships,” said Bitsuamlak.
“Today’s investment in CFI’s Major Science Initiatives supports nationally significant research facilities driving innovation to ensure Canada is equipped to maintain its leadership and train the next generation of world-class researchers. Canadians are placing us on the world stage by making bold discoveries and challenging our world’s most pressing issues to advance our society, well-being, and environment for all to thrive,” said Minister Champagne.
“These significant investments in world-class research infrastructure reflect the importance we place on issues that affect our environment, the health, prosperity and quality of life of all Canadians,” said Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation.