With its claim to fame as Canada’s sunniest city, Medicine Hat is an obvious choice for solar energy development. As a result, MHC’s newest applied research project will examine the viability of solar thermal technology and generate further awareness of this renewable resource in the community.
Led by Trades Innovation Coordinator Danny Wilson and the college’s Office of Innovation and Scholarship (OIS), this project will address performance verification of solar thermal equipment, integrate solar technology into college programming and reduce utility costs of the T wing. Funding for the project has come from both local and provincial sources including the college’s OIS and the Alberta Association of Colleges & Technical Institutes.
“Our hope is that this will be the first of many projects supporting the development of sustainable energy and new programming opportunities at MHC,” said Wilson.
This project will also provide MHC first-year engineering student, Bhavin Vyas, with the opportunity to explore his interest in renewable energy and receive hands-on experience at the same time. Vyas will assist with the installation of the solar thermal equipment and monitor, collect and analyze the data generated. In addition to the experience gained on the solar thermal project, Vyas will also benefit from an informal plumbing apprenticeship this summer which will provide relevant industry context and skills to assist him this summer and beyond as he continues his engineering education.
“This experience is more practical whereas first year engineering classes are more theoretical. This job gives me an opportunity to learn both sides,” said Vyas. “It is a learning experience, starting from scratch and seeing the project through, not just for me but for the whole college.”
He is also gaining practical knowledge through Medicine Hat-based Hyperion Research where he is monitoring and analyzing bacterial growth and its effect as connected to the solar thermal energy. Peter Wallis, owner of Hyperion and dean of science at MHC, was able to recognize Vyas’ ability to contribute to the solar thermal project and connected him with Wilson at the college. Wallis has also played a key role in the project by securing additional funds through the AACTI.
To follow Bhavin's progress over the summer, visit the solar thermal project blog.
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