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Research Areas and Facilities

The applied research needs of industry evolve, establish and advance over time. Our Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) research teams and facilities respond to the innovation needs of industry with a fast, focused and flexible model with our existing mature research areas and new industry-driven emerging research areas.

Centre for Innovation and Research in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials

Two men working on equipment in SAIT's Centre for Innovation and Research in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials

As the age of imagination emerges from the age of information, a need for a new industrial and manufacturing transformation (the fourth industrial revolution) becomes more apparent.

In 2020, ARIS established the Centre for Innovation and Research in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (CIRAMM) to identify and address challenges faced by the industry as manufacturing and materials systems evolve into smarter and cleaner solutions.

CIRAMM’s mission is to facilitate and accelerate the fourth industrial revolution by fostering innovation and talent.

Research themes
  • generative design and computer modeling
  • additive manufacturing of metals and high-performance materials
  • advanced hybrid manufacturing
  • advanced characterizing of materials
  • computer-aided materials science
  • synthesis of advanced materials
  • automation and cloud manufacturing
  • machine learning in manufacturing and materials
Service offerings
  • automation, machine learning and data analytics in manufacturing systems
  • 3D printing of metals
  • 3D printing of high-temperature thermoplastics
  • laser processing of materials (welding, cladding and additive manufacturing)
  • robotic welding
  • robotic milling
  • CAD modeling and advanced design optimization
  • 3D laser scanning and reverse engineering
  • computer modeling and simulation (solid mechanics, stress/strain, heat transfer, fluid dynamics)
  • multi-axis CNC machining (3, 4 and 5 axis)
  • vacuum arc melting, sintering, and heat treatment of materials
  • vacuum casting
  • microscopy (optical and electron microscopy with EBSD and heating stage)
  • spectroscopy (LIBS, EDS, XRD)
  • mechanical testing (tensile, compression, shear, fatigue, creep, impact, hardness)
  • tribological testing (wear resistance, friction coefficient)
  • corrosion testing
  • thermo-analytical analysis (DSC, TGA)

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
  • Building integrated renewable energy
  • Architectural ecology
  • Smart building management
  • Materials and advanced component assembly
Service offerings
  • Early-stage business development
  • Design services
  • Construction consultation services
  • Fabrication, prototyping and installation services
  • Performance monitoring and management
  • Testing services
  • Education, seminars and workshops


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. Our 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 to 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.

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 8-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 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 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

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.

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


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.

This lab supports the development, testing and verification of clean technologies through chemical composition analysis of water, air, greenhouse gases, 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.

Centre for Energy Research in Clean Unconventional Technology Solutions

A photograph of the Aldred Street Building at SAIT.

ARIS' Centre for Energy Research in Clean Unconventional Technology Solutions (CERCUTS) is home to inventive ideas, programs and partnerships that work together to bring environmentally sound, reliable, secure and highly efficient clean energy solutions with the integration of unconventional and alternative energy. Funding for this centre was made possible by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Alberta Government and the Canada Oilsands Innovation Alliance (COSIA).

Building on ARIS's deep-rooted applied research and development expertise this newly established centre functions as a technology solutions provider, collaborator and accelerator to energy innovation. This centre is associated with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Industry Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC) program and has three laboratories which provides space to test lab scale test rigs or small-scale pilot demonstration systems for energy research and to catalyze partnerships with industry, industry associations, regulators, new graduates, start-ups (SU), small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), communities of practice and others.

We would like to hear from you to work alongside you to develop energy innovation and transfer environmentally sound technology solutions for the benefit of society and industry.


The program, labs 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 research on water treatment and recycle, clean technologies and energy-efficient unconventional and alternative energy solutions.
  • Providing training and hands-on experiential education through applied research to the next generation of professionals in integrated unconventional and alternative energy technologies for the jobs of tomorrow.
  • Transferring innovation and technological advancements to accelerate the commercialization of integrated unconventional and alternative energy technologies and facilitate rapid industry adoption.
Research themes and services

Steam Generation Research Facility — Once Through Steam Generation Lab

  • Investigating barriers and solutions to boiler tube fouling and tube failures
  • Destructive tube testing, analysis of solid deposits using SEM/EDS and XRD
  • Analytical testing of boiler feed water from SAGD, CSS and other thermal processes
  • Determining improvements to water recycling and GHG emission reduction efficiency
  • Assessing energy efficiency and overall thermodynamic performance efficiency

Water Research and Innovation Lab

  • Water testing and drinking water treatment systems for indigenous and rural communities
  • Testing oil and water separation with novel ceramic, PTFE, hybrid membrane filtration
  • Investigating novel nano-materials and advanced membranes for fast water clean-up
  • Blowdown water treatment to improve water recycle and minimize waste volume
  • Produced water treatment, disposal of water treatment and management
  • Prototyping emergency desalination skids from sea-water to supply clean drinking water

Clean Technology Innovation Lab

  • Testing high temperature and high-pressure system for process fluid purification
  • Coatings with plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition and selective corrosion protection
  • Testing oil and water separation with novel ceramic, PTFE, hybrid membrane filtration
  • Producing clean water using novel NF, ED, RO and low cost, high-performance systems
  • Energy IOT, real-time sensors, SCADA, data analytics, aggregate, ML algorithms, AI
  • Alternative energy, low carbon tie-ins, natural gas de-carbonization, CO ² conversion
  • GHG fuel cells for clean power, portable batteries, novel energy storage systems

Service offerings

  • Access early-stage strategic applied research engagement for business development
  • Explore proof of concept, leveraged investment and co-funding opportunities
  • Engage in the development, design, build and operation of clean technology prototypes
  • Achieve results of technology performance and solutions to technology limitations
  • Embrace disruption in tech innovation through credible applied research services
  • Avail technology verification and third-party validation services and enhance profitability
  • Gain access to local, regional and global innovation networks and drive brand awareness
  • Collaborate in education, workshops and outreach, inspire next-gen professionals

The expertise available through CERCUTS and the NSERC-IRCC program is diverse where researchers, students, new graduates and faculty join together from multiple disciplines to contribute their unique skills and experiences to fast forward environmentally sound, unconventional and alternative energy solutions.

ARIS engages several techno-entrepreneurs, industry experts, consultants, post-secondary institutions, industry associations, businesses and community stakeholders — allowing us to learn, share and contribute to an even greater pool of expertise to solve key 21st century and environmental challenges for the economic benefit, well-being and advancement of society.


Clean Technology Industry Innovation Lab

The Clean Technology Industry Innovation Lab is located in the Aldred Centre on SAIT's main campus. It allows companies to cost-effectively develop, fabricate and test clean technologies, rapidly improve existing energy technologies and test alternative energy and emission reduction technologies prior to commercialization.

Techno-entrepreneurs, technology vendors, SU, SME, businesses, industry and others interested in partnering with us have access to using this lab and are welcome to develop their new products, processes, and technologies for improvement, functional operation, testing and technology verification.

Water Research and Innovation Lab

The Water Research and Innovation Lab is located in the Senator Burns Building on SAIT's main campus. It has state-of-the-art infrastructure, equipment and chemical instrumentation to conduct accurate analytical characterization of water and solid contaminants. The sources of water and their contaminants may vary because they come from various sectors such as agriculture, biofuels, biomass, infrastructure, construction wastewater ponds, salty retention ponds from road transportation deicing operations, produced water from formations, process or disposal water from industrial operations to name a few. 

This lab is equipped to conduct a range of chemical and environmental testing, allowing partner companies to cost-effectively test water, fluids and solids, or alternatively partner with us to build, operate and test new water treatment technologies, or access testing services for skid mounted or packaged water treatment or pilot desalination systems prior to commercialization.

Once Through Steam Generation Lab

The Once Through Steam Generation Lab is located at the Energy Resources Research Building in the University Research Park. The funding for this laboratory was made possible by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Alberta Government and COSIA with additional contributions from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Industry Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC) program, and Alberta Innovates (AI). This unique OTSG Lab has two lab-scale OTSG test rigs which will test actual processed water from the regional oilsands facilities.

Top scientists and engineers from ConocoPhillips have provided the intellectual property and innovative engineering for the design and build of the first of its kind lab-scale OTSG test rigs in Canada. These two innovative test rigs along with the supporting applied-research infrastructure will be used by researchers, students, new graduates in collaboration with COSIA members, associate members, academia, scholars, steam boiler experts, technology vendors, techno-entrepreneurs and communities of practice. The outcome of the OTSG applied research is to find key solutions to critical operational and environmental challenges associated with steam generation for in-situ oilsands and rapidly assist the adoption of best in class practices.

Innovation Space for Partners

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 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 dry lab space, access to an array of SAIT testing and fabrication facilities and entrepreneur and company development services through the Calgary Regional Innovation Network.

KICS helps energy innovators move their ideas from testing and experimentation to prototype development and companies from startups to going concerns.

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 develop a product and build a company. Services include:
  • Intellectual property protection and development assistance
  • Grant sourcing and development
  • Industry technology championship
  • Technology incubation mentorship 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.

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.

Contact us

1301 - 16 Avenue NW
Calgary, Alberta
T2M 0L4

Tel: 403.284.7056
Toll-Free: 1.866.884.7117

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