Clean Energy Research Grant – 2018 Recap

Another successful year is in the books for the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation. The past year has been marked with a lot of great highlights, including over $20,000 raised at the Ride for Clean Energy (fourth consecutive year), as well as an all-time high number of awarded grants. For the 2018 round of applications, three candidates were chosen to receive the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Grant based on their impressive applications and resumes. Each candidate has made the Foundation proud, with their achievements over the past year and we look forward to their future success in the field of clean and sustainable energy.

Below is a recap of the three grant recipients’ research activities, milestones and accomplishments for the past year.

Sarah Brown – Maximizing passive solar heating in Canadian homes using solar collection system

Carleton University (PhD, Mechanical Engineering)

  • Awarded a the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (3-year). This prestigious award is given to top-ranked postgraduate doctoral applicants.
  • Completed the acceleration process to move from a Master’s to the PhD program.
  • Selected to teach a section of the Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer course at Carleton University in the Winter 2020 term
  • After initially dealing with some equipment failures, tests on the passive-active solar collection system started started in February 2019. Enough data has since been collected to produce three manuscripts for peer-reviewed publications (currently in preparation).
  • While creating a model with building performance simulation software, gaps in knowledge were identified in the infiltration of outside air into residential homes, as well as a need to better understand how air moves between the floors of a house. Continued work will focus in these areas.  
  • Collaborated with a visiting researcher from the University of Bolzano over the summer, to develop an airflow network in the building, to simulate the above-mentioned airflows. The addition of this airflow network allows for improved prediction of the indoor air temperatures in the house over time as well as integrated energy use.
  • Further collaborations will be undertaken with the National Research Council (NRC) to do tracer gas tests to further quantify infiltration characteristics and to better understand the buoyancy-driven airflows between floors.

Khaled Ibrahim – Fabrication of novel nanoparticles for solar cells and greenhouse gas sensors

University of Waterloo (PhD, Mechanical Engineering)

  • Lead-halide has emerged as promising light absorbing materials for perovskite solar cells, however two major concerns exist – their instability to atmospheric moisture and humidity. This has motivated the investigation towards enhancing perovskite solar cell stability against moisture and humidity.
  • Khaled developed a solution laser treatment process and recipe to fabricate hydrophobic nanoparticles of 2D materials such as graphene, molybdenum disulphide, tungsten disulphide and boron nitride to address current problems associated with perovskite solar cells.
  • After assessing their hydrophobicity, these nanoparticles were inserted as an additive layer on the outer layer of Perovskite solar cells.
  • The solar cells were tested in a humidity chamber and the findings were astounding, resulting in a significantly more robust cell, degrading long after conventional (non-coated) cells
  • Next steps include perfecting the properties and fabrication of the particles to further enhance performance efficiency.
  • This research could serve as a significant breakthrough for perovskite solar cells providing a cheap and reliable technique to make them more efficient, stable and robust, resulting in another major leap towards commercialization.

Graduation is in sight for Khaled and he hopes to continue to dedicate his time and efforts towards helping to solve the climate energy crisis. He intends to seek a post-doctoral position in a Canadian university and continue to learn more about techniques to help further engineer green energy technologies.

Danielle Salvatore – Electro-catalytic CO2 conversion in flow cells

University of British Columbia (PhD, Chemical and Biological Engineering)

  • A new analytical device was designed that was able to determine the energy contributions at every component of a typical electrolyzer. This will guide future designs and research efforts in order to design the most efficient system.
  • Since receiving the 2018 Tyler Lewis Research Grant, Danielle’s research efforts contributed to the publication of five peer-reviewed articles and 2 patent applications; including several high impact publications in Science and Nature Communications
  • Danielle presented her research at the 102nd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition in Quebec City, Quebec
  • The project has stemmed into two industrial collaborations

Danielle is currently writing up her thesis and hoping to defend this coming in January. While her time as a student at UBC may be ending, she hopes to continue her research on CO2 conversion with the next steps of scaling her technology to a commercial system. She is currently weighing post-doc and industrial job offers.

Everyone at the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation is extremely proud of the work that Sarah, Khaled and Danielle have accomplished while representing the Foundation over the last year. The above are just a few of the highlights, amongst numerous other deliverables that have been accomplished by each of the candidates. They have embodied the mission of the Foundation and helped us continue to build Tyler’s vision of a more sustainable future. We would like to thank Sarah, Khaled and Danielle for their hard work and dedication, congratulate them on their accomplishments, as well as wish them the best of luck with their future research endeavours.