Home Applied Research and Innovation Services Research Areas and Facilities

Research Areas and Facilities

The applied research needs of industry emerge, establish and evolve over time. Our Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) facility is designed to respond to those needs with a flexible model as research areas mature and new research areas emerge.

Our current applied research areas are:

  • green building
  • information technology
  • clean energy
  • sports and wellness
  • materials design and development
  • and unmanned aerial vehicles.

An emerging area of research involves the development of new technologies for pipeline construction and monitoring.

Centre for Innovative Information Technology Solutions

A photograph of a computer chip.

ARIS started its information technology research in 2007, with a focus on radio frequency identification (RFID) application development. The Centre for Innovative Information Technology Solutions expanded its RFID research to include a wide variety of other electronics and information-technology projects.

The capabilities of this research group include novel software and hardware development for wireless communications across a number of industry sectors.

Research themes
  • asset management, process and technology improvement
  • software development to support RFID technologies
  • hardware integration to support expanded RFID capabilities in existing systems
  • vendor-neutral software and hardware integration
  • distributed wireless sensor networks that facilitate automated inventory reading, processes or systems

Our facilities

KICS Innovation Centre at SAIT 

Where lab space and guidance combine to advance clean energy technology startups and researchers to design, prototype and test their proprietary technologies.

The Kinetica Innovation Centre at SAIT (KICS) is a facility and program that helps Alberta innovators and researchers design, prototype and test their proprietary technologies.

The impressive 2,200 square foot facility located on SAIT's campus with easy access to the LRT is designed to accelerate prototyping efforts by offering co-working wet and mechanical lab space, business mentoring services and access to an array of SAIT testing and fabrication facilities.

KICS helps energy innovators move their ideas from testing and experimentation to prototype development.

Program and facility highlights

A program that helps clients move from idea to prototype, the KICS program includes access to:

The Accelerated Prototype program

  • Provides clients with a focused framework to develop their prototype. Clients will receive support to develop and execute a detailed project plan that outlines budgets, milestones, testing and other critical items.

Co-working wet/dry bench space

  • Offers inventors and researchers affordable access to a secure lab environment with access to fume hoods, meeting rooms and a lunchroom

World-class research facilities, equipment and talent

  • Our ARIS department offers fee-based services for any testing, fabrication or experimentation required during prototype development. Access to ARIS's specialized labs and equipment is complemented by collaboration with students and research staff.

Commercialization services

  • Fee-for-service access to specialized services and entrepreneurial development programs for members looking to build a company or license their research to an existing company. Services include:
  • Intellectual property management
  • Grant assistance and guidance
  • Industry technology championship
  • Energy technology incubation and accelerator services

The KICS lab offers co-working space for up to eight researchers or innovators. Space includes access to:

  • Three fume hoods/chemical workbenches
  • Mechanical/electrical workbenches
  • Bench ventilation and vacuum systems
  • Sinks, compressed air, natural gas
  • Internet
  • Common lunchroom
  • Meeting rooms
  • Fee-for-service testing and fabrication facilities
Technology Demonstration Hall

The Technology Demonstration Hall (Tech Hall) was built in 2012 and is housed within the 440,000 square foot Aldred Centre.

Bring your project to life

As part of SAIT's Applied Research and Innovation Services facility inventory, the Tech Hall is an applied research asset accessible to staff, faculty, researchers and students on campus in any discipline. The facility is often used for collaboration with presentations made to business and industry partners.

Facility highlights

The Tech Hall provides a high-tech audio-visual experience made possible by state-of-the-art sound and display equipment:

  • large-size video wall
  • multi-camera video-conferencing capabilities
  • microphone and speaker assisted audio
  • lighting designed for optimum video quality

A digitized podium serves as a control panel and can be linked to a presenter's laptop. A mobile, lighting-equipped video camera and tripod are also available for two-way audio-visual streaming from remote locations.

Centre for Innovation and Research in Unmanned Systems

A drone flying in the air.

As organizations across all sectors explore the applications and capabilities of unmanned systems, SAIT is supporting innovation and new technology development through its Centre for Innovation and Research in Unmanned Systems (CIRUS). Researchers with SAIT's Applied Research and Innovation Services department, faculty from SAIT's School of Construction, students and industry partners converge in this cross-disciplinary environment to address challenges, create efficiencies, develop and test new products and applications.

The mission of CIRUS is to expand the role unmanned systems play in data acquisition and management, create organizational efficiencies across a variety of sectors and regulatory environments.

Research themes
Infrastructure Monitoring
  • construction management
  • building scanning and modelling
  • health and safety inspection
  • oilfield facilities inspection
  • beyond visual line of sight applications for utility and transportation corridors
Environmental assessment and management
  • flood risk assessment
  • oil and gas leak detection
  • greenhouse-gas emissions detection and Flux modelling
  • RFID-enabled unmanned systems for hard management
Other areas
  • film and videography
  • search and rescue
Service offerings
  • developing customized platforms and sensors
  • developing solutions customized for client-specific applications
  • discovering innovative applications for unmanned systems technologies
  • testing and validation of novel products

The expertise available through CIRUS is diverse, with all researchers and faculty contributing their own unique skills and experiences. SAIT is also engaging several of Alberta's leading colleges, allowing us to draw on an even greater pool of expertise when needed.

Our facilities

Industry Innovation Labs

The Industry Innovation Labs were built in 2012 and are housed within the Aldred Centre utilizing 440,000 square feet. These labs are available to industry partners who do not have their own dedicated applied research space.

The labs allow companies to cost-effectively develop, fabricate and test new technologies prior to commercialization. Space can be fit to meet your specific needs throughout the duration of your applied research projects.

Industry partners interested in using this space typically provide their own equipment and resources, although we will work with you to customize the space, plan and build the set-up you need.

Design, Fabrication and Testing

A man testing composites at the Design, Fabrication and Testing Centre at SAIT.

In 2005, ARIS established a sports and wellness engineering technologies research area, which was originally established to align with Canada's national sports organization and develop made-in-Canada equipment designed to give our Olympic athletes a leg up on the international playing field. 

Since then, the Centre for Design, Fabrication and Testing research group has expanded its scope of work to include prototype design and manufacturing, as well as product design, testing and analysis. 

Service offerings
  • manufacturing
  • engineering, design and analysis
  • rapid prototyping (3D printing)
  • 3D scanning
  • composites fabrication
  • materials analysis, selection and testing
  • computational fluid dynamics and aerodynamic assessment
  • independent product testing

Our facilities

Composites Fabrication Lab

The Composites Fabrication lab was built in 2012 and is housed within the Aldred Centre utilizing 440,000 square feet of space.

Building and repairing fibre-composed objects

Manufacturing and fabrication capabilities include the creation of moulds, finished fibreglass components and custom finish coatings. The large duct collector booth is where contained sanding and sawing takes place before items head to the paint booth for completion.

Facility highlights

  • paint booth | 10' x 16' x 10' 160fsq.ft working area
  • dust booth and collector | 10' x 16' x 10' 160 sq.ft working area
  • preparation and finishing equipment
  • heated vacuum table
Materials Testing Lab

The materials testing lab was built in 2012 and is housed within the Aldred Centre utilizing 440,000 square feet of space. The lab's equipment can analyze the components of any material, enabling researchers to conduct non-destructive and destructive tests to determine a material's structural integrity.

Putting materials, products and prototypes to the test

Testing capabilities include environmental stress testing for variables like temperature and humidity, tensile strength and compression, as well as repetitive motion and lifecycle testing. Testing methods are often combined for the most comprehensive analysis.

Facility highlights

The Materials Testing Lab is housed in the Aldred Centre along with the majority of Applied Research and Innovation Services research as well as technology development facilities.

The lab includes:

  • class I and IV laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) for materials characterization (LIBSCAN50)
  • dynamic and static axial testing with support for environmental chambers
  • small-scale injection moulding (NISSEI HM7-C, 7-ton capacity)
  • rockwell hardness tester (Wilson Rockwell 574R))
Enerplus Centre for Innovation

The Enerplus Centre for Innovation is situated in a 20,000 square foot multi-lab facility and was built in 2012 and housed within the Aldred Centre utilizing 440,000 square feet.

The Enerplus Centre was made possible by a $5 million gift from Enerplus Corporation.

Solving industry challenges through effective product and technology development

The Enerplus Centre is ARIS' main industrial-scale prototype fabrication and testing space, supporting the development, fabrication, testing and commercialization of innovative technology solutions.

Facility highlights

The Enerplus Centre's main prototype fabrication and testing laboratory space offer a range of state-of-the-art capabilities ranging from environmental control enclosures for the testing of clean energy technologies to metals preparation and joining.

Metals preparation and joining:

  • a full complement of welding capabilities
  • plasma cutter
  • blasting cabinet
  • waterjet table
  • bending and forming equipment
  • positioning and layup tables

Metals machining:

  • computer numerical controlled (CNC) lathe
  • CNC 5-axis mill
  • manual mill and lathe
Solids Modeling Lab

The Solids Modeling Lab was built in 2012 and is housed within the Aldred Centre utilizing 440,00 square feet. The lab supports prototype development for applied research and innovation projects at SAIT.

Accelerating the prototype development process

Once a part is modelled using a 3D printer it can be tested for size, aerodynamics and fit before being machined in metal. This enables a quick turnaround and numerous, affordable design iterations during the prototype development process.

Facility highlights

The Enerplus Centre's main prototype fabrication and testing laboratory space offer a range of state-of-the-art capabilities ranging from environmental control enclosures for the testing of clean energy technologies to metals preparation and joining.

  • SolidWorks and Geomagic computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Creaform EXAScan handheld 3D scanner
  • Fusion Deposition Modelling (FDM) rapid prototyping (Fortus 400mc; 16" x 14" x 16" build size)

Environmental Technologies

Research team testing at the Centre for Environmental Technologies

The Environmental Technologies (ET) research team leads applied research in clean technology development associated with energy and the environment. The ET research team develops strategies and solutions such as the reduction of industry impacts to air, soil and water.

This research is grounded in science, technology and engineering and focuses on developing novel technologies from bench to pilot scale in order to address today's energy and environmental challenges. ET research at SAIT advances the body of highly skilled knowledge and technological know-how that is of benefit to industry and society while providing experiential learning to students from SAIT's applied science and technology disciplines. 

Research themes
  • Air quality monitoring, strategic solutions and technologies for greenhouse gas challenges
  • Soil characterization, soil salinity reduction and impacted soil remediation technologies
  • Frac-and produced-water treatment, wastewater remediation, water de-oiling and desalination using a membrane and thermal technologies

Our facilities

Advanced Mobile Labs

There are four state-of-the-art Advanced Mobile Labs managed by the Environmental Technologies research area and the IRCC program. These labs are used to facilitate on-site pilot testing and off-site pilot demonstration or field trails of clean technologies. The mobiles labs are also employed in research associated with quantification, treatment and remediation.

Taking the lab to the researcher

The Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) at SAIT supports industry partners in the evaluation of advanced environmental technologies. One of the ways in which we offer this support is by supplying access to our mobile testing and field sample collection facilities. Each lab is housed within a self-contained trailer that can be transported for field research at remote locations as needed.

Facility highlights

Mobile Water Treatment Laboratory

  • A 48-foot temperature controlled trailer, with lavatory, sink and cold storage for samples
  • Skidded modular process equipment (e.g. UV-AOP water treatment, Modular Steam generators high temperature and high-pressure systems)

Mobile Air Quality Monitoring Laboratory

  • A 26-foot, temperature controlled trailer
  • Analyzers for CO2, SO2, NOx, CO, Methane-Non Methane, PM 2.5/PM 10.0, O3 and H25
  • Dilution Calibrator
  • Zero Air Generator
  • Meteorological sensor to measure wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity, pressure, precipitation and solar radiation
  • Remotely monitored - DR Das SCADA

Mobile Greenhouse Gas and Atmospheric Emissions Laboratory

  • A 48-foot temperature controlled trailer, with lavatory, sink and cold storage for samples
  • Methane Gas Chromatography (GC)
  • Analysis of C1 to C5 GC
  • Analysis of CO2, CH4, N2O in an air matrix GC
  • Multi-gas Analyzer Fourier Transform Infra-red (FTIR)
  • H2, N2 and Zero Air generators with dedicated compressor
  • Remotely monitored - DR Das SCADA

Mobile Chemical and Environmental Analytical Laboratory

  • A 48-foot, temperature controlled trailer, with lavatory, sink and cold storage for samples
  • Electro-Magnetic Salinity Meter for determining salt contamination in soil
  • Oil Sands Tailings verification of remediation technologies
  • Chemical and environmental instrumentation will be fitted up based on specific field trails

Chemical and Environmental Analysis Lab

The Chemical and Environmental Analysis Lab is managed by the Environmental Technologies research area. The lab was built in 2012 and is housed within the Aldred Centre utilizing 440,000 square feet of space. The lab is equipped to conduct a range of analyses including wet chemistry, spectrometry and chromatography.

Supporting the development of clean technologies

The Environmental Technologies team works in partnership with other ARIS research areas and with industry small-to-medium sized enterprises, technology providers and other collaborators to explore clean technology applications.

The lab supports development, testing and verification of clean technologies through chemical composition analysis of water, air, greenhouse gas, tailings and soil.

Facility highlights

Analysis capabilities include measurements for trace metals, anions, cations, alkalinity, salinity, total organic carbon, total inorganic carbon, total carbon, total dissolved solids, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semi-VOCs, particle size and greenhouse gases.

Lab equipment and processes include, but are not limited to:

  • X-ray diffractometer (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis
  • Microwave digestion and preparatory systems
  • Potentiometric titration
  • Gas chromatography and mass spectrometer (GCMS)
  • FTIR analyzer
  • Inductively coupled plasma with atomic emission
  • TOC analyzer
  • Ion chromatography (IC) system
  • Laser diffraction particle size analyzer
Process Operations Lab

The Process Operations Lab refers to space and equipment that supports process engineering capabilities available within the Enerplus Centre for Innovation. It is managed by the Environmental Technologies research area and the IRCC Program.

Pilot-projects that solve real-world problems

The Environmental Technologies research area utilizes process engineering capabilities at the Enerplus Centre to develop prototype pilot systems in collaboration with industry partners and many stakeholders.

Facility highlights

Process operations prototype systems include:

  • Electrodialysis pilot water treatment for water destination of saline groundwater for drinking, agriculture, livestock and industrial steam boilers etc.
  • Ceramic membrane filtration to remove suspended solids, turbidity, oil and grease and organic carbon from produced water for recycling and reuse in industrial steam boilers and other sectors.
  • Reverse osmosis desalination to produce pure water for drinking, agriculture, livestock, industrial steam boilers etc.
  • Fractional distillation to separate components within a liquid mixture using evaporation and condensation and to conduct studies on renewable (solar) energy desalination.
  • Advanced oxidation processes to reduce total organic carbon and related contaminants, including removal of pathogens.
  • Chemical vapour deposition (CVD), plasma-enhanced CVD, and plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition to create a variety of thin film layers/coatings for industrial and applied research applications.

Green Building Technologies

A photograph of the Green Building Technology Centre at SAIT.

The Green Building Technologies (GBT) research division started in 2008. ARIS has brought SAIT and GBT researchers together with industry partners to identify and develop environmentally friendly technologies, processes, programs, systems and services that will fundamentally change the way we build, educate and develop skilled labour.

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  • Partnering with industry in implementing green-building technologies
  • Providing training and education in green-building technologies
  • Advancing applied research and development towards the commercialization of green-building technologies
Research themes
  • Net-zero energy and energy-positive design
  • Building integrated renewable energy
  • Architectural ecology
  • Energy management and monitoring
  • Education and industry transformation
  • Materials and advanced component assembly
Service offerings
  • Early-stage business development
  • Design and engineering services
  • Construction innovation
  • Fabrication, prototyping and installation services
  • Performance monitoring and management
  • Testing services
  • Education, workshops and seminars

Our facilities

Green Building Technology Lab and Demonstration Centre

As an applied research facility, the Green Building Technology (GBT) Lab and Demonstration Centre provide hands-on training and industry-based experience. Working in cooperation with builders, government, regulatory bodies and numerous stakeholders, the GBT team brings new products and processes to the green building marketplace. Or on-campus research facilities are flexible, living laboratories.

Leading the industry in net-zero energy design and integrated renewable energy solutions

With learning opportunities at its core, GBT engages students and researchers from multiple disciplines across different contexts and projects. Projects are typically undertaken by GBT connect consumers, industry and education to deliver residential and commercial building solutions. The GBT research area offers a broad range of service lines, technical consultation and "R&D" resources, including building-integrated solar and water technologies as well as green materials fabrication, prototyping and product testing.

Facility highlights

The GBT Lab and Demonstration Centre is a 6,350 square foot living and breathing example of energy efficiency, building-integrated green technologies and renewable energy solutions. With additional square footage dedicated to specialized workshops, testing bays, storage and a large construction staging area, the entire facility totals over 16,800 square feet of research infrastructure.

Highlights include:

  • Green roof test plots for water dispersion control and building energy monitoring
  • Structural testing jigs for new building product performance measurement
  • Guarded hot box for wall and roof system performance testing
  • Lifecycle testing for wall, roof, cladding and building components
  • Electrical, plumbing and carpentry workshops
  • 5,800 square foot pre-manufactured construction and staging area
  • Solar carport and electric vehicle charging bays
  • Smart building monitoring and performance measurement
  • Solar aquatic and constructed wetland bio-filtration
  • Living wall comparative test plots
Integrated Solar and Rainwater Harvesting Labs

Used primarily for research, training and demonstration, the Solar Lab is home to industry-leading technology in solar energy generation, storage and use. The lab also houses a rainwater harvesting research space.

Powering the future of building-integrated renewables

SAIT designed and constructed the Solar Lab to demonstrate building-integrated renewable energy and to test new solar technologies. The complementary rainwater harvesting component was created for the design and testing of building-integrated water reclamation and water-filtration solutions.

The labs are housed in the same compound as the Green Building Technology Lab and Demonstration Centre and continue as two of the facility's flexible, living laboratories for research and development in the renewable energy industry.

Facility highlights

The labs feature fully operational solar photovoltaic (electricity) and solar thermal (heat systems), including rack-mounted and actuating solar panels that are directly integrated into the construction of the building.

The functional onsite harvesting, storage and re-use systems utilize a range of Architectural Ecology (AE) technologies. These AE technologies include green roofs, rainwater collection methods and numerous living walls that filter rainwater for grey water applications such as toilet flushing and irrigation.

The lab also includes green energy solutions and integrated mechanics for seasonal heat storage, battery storage and energy grid configuration. The latest addition to the lab is a solar carport, equipped with an electric-car charging station.

Solar Roller Mobile Lab

The Solar Roller Mobile Lab is used for research, training, education and outreach events.

Generating power anywhere, anytime

The Solar Roller is a fully functional, mobile trailer that is equipped with solar power generation and off-the-grid telecommunications equipment.

Facility highlights

The mobile lab is a 14 x 18-foot cargo trailer-conversion constructed by SAIT researchers, faculty, industry partners and students. A customized solar module racking system is built into the roof and holds moveable solar modules that sit at a 45-degree angle to capture optimal sunlight. The panels fold in and stack on top of each other for transport.

It features a battery-based solar system that captures and stores energy from the sun, as well as a computer monitoring station, battery storage and lab capabilities for experiential learning.

In addition to providing a hands-on research and learning tool for students and industry partners, the Solar Roller is fully functional and doubles as a mobile, remote source of power.

Centre for Energy Research and Clean Unconventional Technology Solutions

A photograph of the Aldred Street Building at SAIT.

In order to work with and assist the Canadian oil sands industry in finding pragmatic solutions to the challenges associated with steam generation, SAIT was awarded an Industrial Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC) in Oil Sands In-Situ Steam Generation. This $1.75 million project is being funded by a $1 million Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) IRCC grant, with additional contributions from Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) and Alberta Innovates. 

The resulting, unique once-through steam generator (OTSG) lab and applied-research infrastructure at SAIT will solve operational and environmental challenges associated with steam generation for in-situ oil sands.

Dr Vita Martez, who holds the five-year chair position, is working in partnership with ConocoPhillips and other members of COSIA to advance a proprietary clean-energy technology for steam generation. Originally developed by ConocoPhillips, this technology is a novel, bare-tube OTSG which has the potential to make a significant positive impact on environmental performance. This research will result in the next generation of the bare-tube OTSG technology and innovative applied-research findings for in-situ oil sands facilities.

Ultimately, the IRCC will create a unique, world-class applied-research and innovation program that will help energy producers working in the Canadian oil sands make crucial reductions in fresh water usage, increase efficiency in steam/water recycling rates, support clean energy production and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


The IRCC program and its associated OTSG laboratory and related applied-research infrastructure will enable researchers to determine and solve the barriers to achieving high-energy efficiency, enhanced steam quality and water recycle, as well as reduced GHG emissions during in-situ oil sands production. This includes:

  • Partnering with industry and small-to-medium-sized enterprises in implementing energy-efficient clean-energy technologies.
  • Providing training and hands-on experiential education through applied research to the next generation of professionals.
  • Transferring new technological advancements to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies and facilitate industry adoption.
Research themes and services

Once-Through Steam Generation Lab

  • An intellectual property transfer from the first-generation design developed by top-notch scientists and engineers at ConocoPhillips.
  • Next-generation, bare-tube OTSG for applied research - the first of its kind in Canada.
  • Steam boiler installation at OTSG laboratory to be built in SAIT's Johnson-Cobbe Energy Centre.

High temperature and pressure testing

  • Energy and water efficiency testing of OTSG for produced water from steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) and other steam processes.
  • Chemical instrumentation for real-time quality data acquisition.
  • Chemical/environmental analysis for solid deposits in boiler tubes and liquids.
  • Process optimization, process control and advanced simulation.

Clean technology testing

  • Feed-water treatment technology validation (ceramic, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), nanofiltration (NF), reverse osmosis (RO), electrodialysis (ED) membranes) for water recycle with small-to-medium-sized enterprises, technology providers and industry.
  • Real-time sensor measurement including a programmable logic controller (PLC), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) etc.
  • Proactive clean technologies such as low-carbon tie-ins and natural gas decarbonization.
  • Reactive clean technologies such as carbon dioxide waste-to-resource strategies and drone and mobile lab-based GHG emissions monitoring and measurement.
  • Boiler/evaporator blowdown waste management.

The expertise available through the IRCC program is diverse with all researchers and faculty contributing their own unique skills and experiences. SAIT engages several post-secondary institutions, industry associations, businesses and stakeholders — allowing us to learn, share and contribute to an even greater pool of expertise to solve key 21st-century environmental challenges.

Applied Research and Innovation Services

Contact us

1301 - 16 Avenue NW
Calgary, Alberta
T2M 0L4

Tel: 403.284.7056
Toll-Free: 1.866.884.7117
Email: applied.research@sait.ca

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