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  • Driving Innovation in Durham Region and Beyond

    Published Thursday March 04, 2010 1:15 pm

    Driving Innovation in Durham Region and Beyond
    By: Jim Flaherty, Whitby-Oshawa M.P., Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the GTA

    When it comes to the Canadian economy, I truly believe people in Durham Region and throughout Canada have every reason to be cautiously optimistic. The Economic Action Plan our government introduced last year is working and we are starting to see positive signs of recovery, such as modest job creation, a rebound in consumer spending, and a strengthening real estate market.

    A critical part of our Economic Action Plan has been our government’s investment in infrastructure. We are expanding transit systems, building roads, and improving water systems. We are also providing financial support for the development of world class research, development and innovation centres like the General Motors of Canada Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa. Here entrepreneurs, businesspeople and engineers will soon be able to create, test and validate some of the most innovative products in the world. The federal government contribution to ACE was $14 million.

    ACE will be a multi-level centre with an area of approximately 16,300 square metres. It will be divided into two distinct sections, a core research facility and an integrated research and training facility.

    The core research facility will offer a full range of testing facilities including one of the largest and most sophisticated climatic wind tunnels on the planet. In this test chamber wind speeds could exceed 240 km/h, temperatures could range from -40C to 60C and humidity could fluctuate from 5% to 95% anytime of the year. The wind tunnel will also have a large rotating chassis dynamometer to test road load and a solar array to replicate the effects of the sun. In the climatic wind tunnel you will be able to simulate conditions like driving a car up a steep mountain road in dry desert heat or in the middle of an arctic blizzard.

    The integrated research and training facility will span five floors with space dedicated for research, education and training. It will have offices, laboratories and common work areas with machine tools like mills, welders, grinders and lathes. This facility will help foster an environment for collaboration and interaction between industry, researchers and students.

    ACE has been designed to accommodate cars, trucks and buses, but it also has the capacity to accommodate locomotives, military vehicles, aircraft and aerospace components and alternative energy technology such as wind turbines. Furthermore, ACE has the potential to be used to train military personnel, rescue crews, or competitive athletes, to carry out performance testing of outdoor survival gear, to assist the movie industry or test products that are subject to severe wind, humidity, snow, ice or desert heat.

    ACE is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in 2010. It will operate as an independent test facility, available to manufacturers of all descriptions, start-up companies and researchers in Canada and around the globe.

    This is where we will develop the next generation of green and clean vehicles, advanced energy technology and products we haven’t even thought of yet. ACE will be a magnet for business to Durham Region, and it will also be a place where we train the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow. The potential of ACE is limitless.

    To learn more about ACE you can visit: www.gm-ace.uoit.ca.