Canadian automotive R&D receives $34 million boost
Development of light-weight auto parts and energy storage cells seen as key to Canada’s automotive future.
Windsor, Ontario — Six new projects — supported by Automotive Partnership Canada initiative –were announced at the University of Windsor. Intended to advance research and development (R&D) in Canada’s automotive industry, these university-industry partnerships will receive approximately $34 million from Automotive Partnership Canada and other industry partners, including Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and National Research Council Canada (NRC).
The projects include:
• A million-dollar investment to assist in the development of manufacturing processes to produce lighter-weight car parts, headed by Daniel Green, a UWindsor mechanical automotive and materials engineering professor. His project is directed at applying a hybrid electrohydraulic / hydromechanical drawing process to form auto parts — a process that involves discharging a high-voltage current to create a pressure wave in fluid. The wave would then form a sheet metal blank against a die.
• Dalhousie University received $2.2 million through NSERC to develop a low-cost method of producing titanium parts for automotive applications through the development of new processes. Replacing steel with titanium alternatives can reduce the weight of a vehicle by 50 percent.
• Dalhousie also received approximately $4.2 million through NSERC and CFI to identify cell chemistries and operating ranges that give optimum battery cycle and calendar life. Another goal will be to transfer the knowledge gained through advanced diagnostic methods to partners through scientific and technical exchange.
• University of Waterloo received $3.7 million to examine key corrosion, fatigue, and structural parameters of multi-material automotive structures. Advanced computer models for manufacturing and in-service performance will be developed. These will enable efficient computer-aided engineering of future vehicles.
• Simon Fraser University received $5.5 million to develop polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) that with lower platinum requirements. The partnership will bring together 17 scientists and engineers from nine universities across Canada, who will work on reducing the cost of PEMFCs through the exploration of alternative non-platinum metals and the fabrication of advanced layer structures.
• Gillian Goward and a team at McMaster University received more than $2.3 million through NSERC to identify improvements to lithium batteries by looking inside operating batteries to determine what occurs at various scales. This will give the researchers a picture of the electrical and chemical state of health of the battery and will help them understand what is impacting on its performance. The goal is to develop innovations that will bring the next generation of automotive batteries.
Announced by the Government of Canada in April 2009, Automotive Partnership Canada is a five-year, $145-million initiative that supports collaborative R&D and pushes the Canadian automotive industry to greater levels of innovation. As this is an industry-driven initiative, automotive companies provide both financial support and essential in-kind contributions to ensure the research projects’ success.