Yukon College Home Research & Innovation Yukoner wins $60K Yukon Innovation Prize

Yukoner wins $60K Yukon Innovation Prize

Max Dugre Sasseville receives his $60,000 cheque.

June 29, 2016

Cold Climate Innovation (CCI) of the Yukon Research Centre, and Government of Yukon’s Economic Development have chosen a winner for the 2016 Yukon Innovation Prize (YIP). Maxime Dugre-Sasseville of Max Design Construction has won $60,000 to further develop a thermodynamic greenhouse that will significantly extend the growing season in cold climates.

Dugre-Sasseville has applied his engineering background in custom automation with his construction expertise to design a controlled thermodynamic greenhouse that will run eight to 12 months of the year whether you are in Old Crow or the mountains of Colorado.

“My design is comparable in price to a standard greenhouse but mine has a substantially longer growing season and is heated by the sun for free”, said Dugre-Sasseville. “This prize will allow me to develop a prototype so I can prepare my concept for market and help make our communities more food secure”.

Dugre-Sasseville’s smart greenhouse uses a solar-water heating system that automatically responds to changes in temperature. The greenhouse sits above an underground pool of water that is heated by solar panels. The structure contains garden beds that are built like mini greenhouses so that in cooler months the heating system can focus on the individual beds, rather than heating the entire structure. This allows for an efficient heating system that can support plant growth in extreme winter temperatures.

“Cold Climate Innovation is here to support innovative ideas that benefit the local economy and environment with strong potential of being commercialized”, said Janet Moodie, Interim President and Vice Chancellor, Yukon College. “This greenhouse concept was chosen for its great market potential and benefits to food security in the Yukon and around the circumpolar world”, said Moodie.

In the future Dugre-Sasseville hopes to sell customized greenhouses to both the commercial and residential market, as well as use his prototype to feed and educate his Bed and Breakfast agri-tourism customers at his home at Fox Lake.

“The Government of Yukon is proud to once again support this year’s Yukon Innovation Prize, as we work towards advancing Yukon’s presence in the northern technology sector,” Minister of Economic Development Stacey Hassard said. “This contest and indeed the winning project, demonstrates the evolution of Yukon’s technological capabilities, further proving that there is great potential to be a leader in northern innovation.”

Launched in February of this year, the YIP attracted 28 submissions that were evaluated by their market and commercialization potential in the area of food security or agriculture. In April, four finalists were each given $10,000 to further develop their idea and compete for the grand prize of $60,000.

For more information on the Yukon Innovation Prize, please visit our website.

Cold Climate Innovation’s core funding comes from Government of Yukon’s Department of Economic Development. It is one of six key programs that operate under the Yukon Research Centre at Yukon College. The others include: Biodiversity Monitoring, Northern Climate ExChange, NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Mine Life Cycle, Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, and Technology Innovation.