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Hydro-Quebec invests $3.9 million in Concordia chairs and students

October 14, 2017 | By Anthony Capkun

Concordia and Hydro-Quebec representatives at the gift announcement on October 12, 2017. Photo © Concordia.

October 13, 2017 – Research into sustainable energy and smart grid security at Concordia University has received major boost from Hydro-Quebec, which is donating $3.9 million toward research and attracting students to engineering, business, arts and science.

“At Hydro-Quebec, research and technological innovation are at the heart of our business and growth strategy. With this new gift, we deepen our commitment to advancing scientific discovery through the great work being conducted by experts in their field at Concordia,” says Réal Laporte, president of Hydro-Quebec Innovation, équipement et services partagés; and president & CEO of Société d’énergie de la Baie James.

About $2.5 million of the gift will finance three industrial research chairs in Concordia’s Faculty of Engineering & Computer Science. One of the chairs is the first of its kind in Canada: the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)/Hydro-Quebec/Thales Senior Industrial Research Chair in Smart Grid Security.

This chair will oversee Concordia researchers who are pioneering the protection of Quebec’s power grid from cyberattacks. It will lead to important contributions in methodologies, techniques, tools and best practices for the detection, prevention, mitigation and attribution of cyberattacks, together with the characterization of their physical impacts on the smart grid.


“This Hydro-Quebec support allows us to have a tangible, strong and positive impact in this strategic area,” said Mourad Debbabi, holder of the NSERC/Hydro-Quebec/Thales Senior Industrial Research Chair in Smart Grid Security; associate dean of Research & Graduate Studies in Concordia’s Faculty of Engineering & Computer Science; and professor at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering.

Hydro-Quebec’s gift also supports two other chairs, including the NSERC/Hydro-Quebec Senior Industrial Research Chair in Design & Performance of Small Electrical Machines.

“My current research focuses on special machines for electric vehicles as well as renewable energy technologies, mainly targeting remote communities but also for use in urban environments during emergencies when powerful loads are required,” said chair-holder Pragasen Pillay, a Concordia professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering. His research involves designing and prototyping variable flux machines for electric vehicles and distributed generation.

Andreas Athienitis, Concordia professor of Building Engineering, holds the NSERC/Hydro-Quebec Senior Industrial Research Chair in Optimized Operation & Energy Efficiency: toward High-Performance Buildings.

“We are developing cross-disciplinary research to optimize performance and the integration of solar systems into both new and existing buildings,” says Athienitis.

He and his team have developed “reduced-order” building thermal models that enable the development of predictive control techniques and methods to reduce and shift peak demand for electricity. They have developed building-integrated photovoltaic/thermal systems that convert building envelopes into net generators of electricity and useful heat.

Finally, one-third of the Hydro-Quebec gift, $1.395 million, will support 68 merit-based student awards at Concordia’s Faculty of Engineering & Computer Science, John Molson School of Business and Faculty of Arts and Science. Hydro-Quebec Scholarships will benefit students at the doctoral, master’s and undergraduate levels over the next five years.

PHOTO: Concordia and Hydro-Quebec representatives at the gift announcement on October 12, 2017. Photo © Concordia.

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