Impact Stories

Showcasing the success of Partnership programs and research

Turning greenhouse waste into energy

Using fossil fuels to heat greenhouses is expensive and environmentally unsustainable.  But how about heating them with plant waste from the greenhouses themselves?

That’s what Prof. Animesh Dutta, School of Engineering, is working towards. He’s producing a fuel-flexible boiler (heater) that can use a variety of non-conventional, yet readily available fuels in an efficient way. 

One such fuel is called biocarbon. It’s made from plant matter – leaves, stems and vines of greenhouse plants – that is abundant in greenhouses, is costly to dispose of and has no resale value.

Tobacco plants in a greenhouse

From plants as medicine, to plants making medicine

Plants such as milk thistle have been used for millennia to treat disease and promote good health. Now a Guelph-based start-up is enlisting plants to make medicine, and its choice of plants is one not traditionally associated with good health.

PlantForm Corp., established in 2008, uses tobacco plants to manufacture monoclonal antibodies used to treat a host of diseases, ranging from cancer to HIV.

Cows lined up in stall eating straw

Reducing dairy-related greenhouse gases

Every little bit helps when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and researchers at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences have some suggestions about how to help.

For example, they’ve found that completely emptying livestock manure storage systems is a relatively simple but effective method of reducing methane emissions to less than half of those produced by partially emptied systems.

Bike shelter with a green roof

Improving green roofs with new technology

Green roofs –roofs partially or completely covered by plants – are becoming more popular in urban landscapes because they help manage storm water and reduce heating and cooling costs while making cities greener – literally.  A former Guelph researcher is combining research with engineering savvy to make these structures more accessible, efficient and affordable. 

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