Breaking boundaries: Bioresource Engineering shines at McGill Design Day debut

Published: 2 May 2024

Generations of Bioresource Engineering students have participated in the BREE 495 capstone design course. What innovative ideas did this year’s students come up with?

BREE students pose with their award winning substrate

In the vibrant ambiance of McGill Engineering Design Day, where innovation meets ingenuity, the Department of Bioresource Engineering proudly debuted its capstone design projects for the first time in this Faculty of Engineering led initiative. The Montreal Omni Hotel buzzed with excitement and anticipation as engineering students of various disciplines, from aerospace to sustainability and robotics, presented their solutions to real-world problems.

Under the guidance of Professors Chandra Madramootoo and Grant Clark, Macdonald teams demonstrated the power of interdisciplinary collaboration and creative problem-solving, with ideas ranging from ecological solutions to culvert damming to sustainable bio-based composites.

Among many standout projects, Jeanne Lacombe, Sandrine Lapointe, Chloe Michel, and Félix Marcil-Gendreau claimed top honours in the Bioresource Engineering competition. Their project introduces a new particleboard material derived from the common reed (Phragmites australis) and a bio-based adhesive, repurposing an invasive plant abundant in Quebec into a valuable, environmentally friendly resource.

Students Elisabeth Cayer-Desforges, Pishoy Mikhail, and Camille Julien took second place in the competition with a design that harnesses snow storage as a sustainable cooling system during the summer months.

This passive cooling system would collect and store snow in designated areas on campus during winter. Throughout the summer, when cooling demands peak, the stored snow would be used to cool campus buildings through a network of circulation systems. Built-in monitoring and control mechanisms ensure optimal operation. The students tested the system using a prototype, demonstrating its functionality and viability.

BREE students pose with their poster on snow cooling

Dr. Chandra Madramootoo commended the students for their exemplary efforts.

"These projects epitomize the spirit of innovation and sustainability that defines the Bioresource Engineering program,” he said. “They demonstrate the power of creative thinking and engineering excellence in addressing critical environmental challenges."

He added, "These projects align with the university’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship and serve as blueprints for other institutions seeking innovative solutions to curtail energy consumption and mitigate climate impact."

With their groundbreaking solutions, BREE 495 students have set a high bar for future generations of engineers. Their projects serve as a testament to the power of creative thinking and engineering excellence, inspiring others to think outside the box and positively impact the world.

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