Engineering Professor Paul Simms Receives 2011 Research Achievement Award From Carleton
Ottawa Everyone is seeking more cost-effective and sustainable initiatives to heat their homes and other buildings. One of the ways to do that is through the use of low-temperature geothermal heat pumps that can provide supplemental heating.
Carleton Professor Paul Simms will use the $15,000 honorarium from his Carleton University 2011 Research Achievement Award to undertake a new study to look at ways of improving this kind of heating system.
“Ground heat can be easily captured through pumps and pipes and it stays warm longer because of the protection it receives from soil and water,” says Simms. “But a lot more can be done to optimize these systems from the point of view of the type of soils and their thermal properties.”
Simms will explore the feasibility of soil layering, using a climate-controlled test pit that was built for his research on mine waste management.
“This research could eventually lead to real-world solutions for homeowners, industry and government by cutting costs and generating investment while reducing our environmental footprint,” he says.
Simms, an associate professor with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been test-driving innovative ways of containing and disposing of mine tailings under controlled climatic conditions. He has been using an environmental test pit funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation. In Canada, mine tailings are produced at a rate 20 times greater than municipal waste. There have been many catastrophic failures of tailings impoundments, with devastating ecological and economic consequences and sometimes loss of life. Simm’s research is helping develop safer tailings management practices.
Simms is one of 10 recipients of this year’s Carleton Research Achievement Awards. The other winners were announced during Carleton’s Research Days celebration.