At a virtual ceremony today, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) opened a new advanced materials research facility to serve as a national clean energy hub, supporting and undertaking foundational research of new materials for clean energy and other applications and transitioning them to industrial use. The facility will bring companies, government, and universities together to collaborate on breakthrough projects in clean technologies and advanced materials.
The facility will be part of the Canadian Campus for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (CCAMM), a joint initiative between the NRC and the Xerox Research Centre of Canada (XRCC). This initiative will establish a suite of accessible platform technologies for substantially accelerating the rate of discovery of new materials for a range of applications, including clean energy and additive manufacturing.
As part of the ceremony, the NRC announced the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program will be housed at the research facility. This 7-year, $57 million collaborative research program focusses on the development of new materials to be used in the production of clean and sustainable energy.
• The NRC Mississauga research facility will focus on technologies for accelerating discovery and innovation in new materials, most prominently AI-driven robotics experimental platforms termed "Material Acceleration Platforms" or self-driven labs. The initial focal areas of application will include materials enabling the conversion of carbon dioxide to fuels and other high-value industrial products, multi-functional powders and nanomaterials; and advanced metamaterials and devices for consumer, automotive, aerospace and biomedical applications.
• The facility will house the operations and core R&D activities of the NRC's Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program, which is collaborating with leaders in academia and industry to catalyze the discovery and development of materials for early-stage exploratory technologies to decarbonize Canada's oil and gas and petrochemical sectors.
• The NRC's new advanced materials research facility will also house a number of university collaborations, including:
- the NRC-University of Toronto Collaboration Centre for Green Energy Materials, which will lead to discoveries and advances that will result in publications, patents, and the commercialization of technology, as well as provide training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
- equipment and students from the University of Waterloo in support of a collaboration in materials and processes for additive manufacturing.
• When research operations begin in mid-2021, the facility initially will host a team of about 15 researchers and support staff, with space for about 20 additional guest and visiting workers at any one time. The fully completed facility will house roughly 100 researchers and support staff from the NRC, and a broad range of collaborators and partners from academia, other government departments and industry, from Canada and around the world.
• The advanced materials research facility consists of 21,500 square feet of laboratories, office space and meeting rooms on its first floor with a shelled-in second floor, ready to be outfitted. The 2-floor building will be expanded as part of Phase 2. A third floor will be added to accommodate collaborative work with other government departments and is anticipated to be completed in mid-2022.
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