Renewable Energy Technologies and Health


Welcome to ORC-RETH website!

Welcome to the ORC-RETH website! The Ontario Research Chair program in Renewable Energy Technologies and Health (ORC-RETH) at the University of Waterloo addresses the technological, health, and safety aspects of renewable energy conversion. This program effectively establishes a multi-disciplinary platform to promote research and educational activities in renewable energy technologies (RETs) and their health and safety implications. While various approaches and technologies for renewable energy conversion are being researched, developed, and deployed worldwide, the health and safety aspects of the technologies become topics of great importance, in addition to the performance, reliability, and affordability of the RETs. This 5-year ORC program (May 1, 2010 - April 30, 2015), which is funded with annual funding of $300,000 from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and administered by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), commenced at Waterloo in the summer of 2010 with Professor Siva Sivoththaman as the Chair holder.

The University of Waterloo (UW) views this program as critically important at a time of strong growth of RETs. As part of its broader Strategic Research Plan, the University is committed to research and education in RETs, and, at the same time, to ensure health and safety are top priorities in the induction of new technologies. The ORC program brings on board researchers with different and relevant expertise from the faculties of Engineering and Applied Health Sciences. In addressing the important issues in RETs, the program covers Wind, Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Bio energy technologies, and their grid-integration aspects. The multiple topics in the research program will be collaboratively addressed in a solution-based research approach. The on-going and planned research activities range from in-depth scientific studies, engineering approaches, and health studies to technology solutions, guidelines, and policy recommendations. The research program will immensely benefit not only from the relevant research facilities and laboratories that exist on campus, but also from UW’s Research Institutes and Centres that provide excellent networking opportunities. Training of highly qualified personnel (HQP) through graduate level education is an important component of UW’s research agenda. The ORC program involves active engagement of an increasing number of graduate students at the Doctoral and Masters levels. The program will also contribute to curriculum development on technology-related H&S issues. Students from four different academic departments will work interactively in this new program that addresses important issues involving technology, health, and safety associated with renewable energy conversion. Over the course of the program the researchers in this program will also establish collaborations with other institutions, Canadian and international, as appropriate.