Concordia University Launches Sustainable Bonds

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Fundings research can get expensive, particularly when looking into cutting edge technology and techniques. In order to fund research at a new lab at Concordia University the school has launched a sustainable bond. Other schools have done this around the world in order to raise funding, Concordia is the first in Canada to do so. What’s different about Concordia’s bond issuance is related to research and not the facility itself.

Concordia’s $25-million senior unsecured bond offers investors a 3.626 per cent yield and has a duration of 20 years — the longest for any sustainable bond in Canada, according to Denis Cossette, the university’s chief financial officer. The bond will be used to reimburse the university of the capital it spent on financing its Science Hub, which will be home to aquatic biology, microscopy, cellular imaging and chemical and materials engineering labs for researchers.

It’s the work that will take place inside the building that allowed Concordia to issue sustainable bonds instead of green bonds, Cossette said. The former required certification assuring that the Science Hub and the work that the university plans to conduct inside will contribute to three of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals — affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation and infrastructure; and climate action.

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Putting CO2 Emissions on a Map

In the fight to curb CO2 emissions and hold back the rate of increasing climate change, researches have mapped out where the emissions are coming from. Unsurprisingly, they have found that where there is a lot of human activity there are more emissions. This will help convince naysayers and ignoramuses that humans are at fault for climate change and now we know the exact areas where we need to drastically cut emissions.

Using simulation results from 12 global climate models, Damon Matthews, a professor in Concordia’s Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, along with post-doctoral researcher Martin Leduc, produced a map that shows how the climate changes in response to cumulative carbon emissions around the world.

They found that temperature increases in most parts of the world respond linearly to cumulative emissions.

“This provides a simple and powerful link between total global emissions of carbon dioxide and local climate warming,” says Matthews. “This approach can be used to show how much human emissions are to blame for local changes.”

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Dynamic Systems Modelling for Better Prediction of Emissions

Canada has a large pulp and paper industry and it produces tons of waste in the form of wastewater and greenhouse gas emissions. Collectively the industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars to lower their environmental damage, so even a marginal increase in environmental efficiency can have a large impact on their bottom line.

A study from Concordia University looked into using dynamic systems modelling to asses what the output of processing facilities to predict waste output.

“With dynamic modeling, we can better understand the behaviour of the treatment plant over time,” says senior author Fariborz Haghighat, professor in Concordia’s Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Concordia ResearchChair in Energy and Environment. “With this knowledge, we can then recommend a strategy to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas and also improve energy efficiency.”

“Models such as this are used to simulate the behaviour of a particular management system either in the early stages of system design or in later development to incorporate changes,” adds Yerushalmi. “We want to make sure that we use the most accurate method possible and the dynamic model isbest predictor yet.”

Read more at Concordia.

Hot Invention Cools Down Environment

A seemingly banal industrial component is a heat exchanger and they can be ridiculously inefficient. What a heat exchanger does is regulate the temperature of machines that have to be kept cool like an industrial sized-fridge.

At Concordia, a doctoral student has created a new device that can make heat exchangers more efficient and thus environmentally-friendly. It’s this sort of advancement that is good for the environment and good for profits so I’m sure we’ll see his heat exchanging technology being implemented sooner rather than later.

The innovation behind Vatistas’s unique design comes from over two decades of research into vortex flows. “Growing up in southern costal Greece,” recalls Vatistas, “I became familiar with the concept of vortices at an early age when my elders would warn me of the dangers of swimming near whirlpools!” Youthful fascination evolved into research passion as Vatistas performed advanced theoretical work into how vortices alter the flow of fluid substances like air or water. He later went on to gain international renown for proving Nobel Prize-winner J.J. Thomson’s 125-year-old theorem on the stability of vortex rings.

But it is on the practical side of things where Vatistas’s work resonates loudest. When Vatistas realized that swirling flow could dramatically increase heat transfer exchange, the commercial application of his research quickly became evident. He then partnered with Valéo Management L.P. to investigate new designs of heat exchangers and received a prestigious Idea to Innovation Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council in support of the work.

Read more at Concordia’s site.

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