The end of the year is always an exciting time for the Foundation, as we get to announce the newly awarded grant recipients. Like the past several years, the Foundation received a significant amount of applications from universities across the country. As always, our Foundation’s grant advisors were given the daunting task of selecting this year’s winners from a large pool of strong candidates.
After a very challenging adjudication process, the Foundation is excited to announce that for the fifth year in a row, it will be awarding a total of three research grants. This year’s worthy awardees are:
• Maddison Eisnor (McGill University) • Noah Frymire (Western University) • Sophie Janke (University of Victoria)
Everyone at the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation is extremely proud to have these three join the list of past Foundation awardees, as they are not only strong researchers investigating promising clean energy projects, but they also embody the Foundation’s mission beyond their research.
Learn more about this year’s award recipients and their research below.
Maddison Eisnor – Single Particle Analysis of Titanium Niobium Oxide Anodes using Scanning Electrochemical Cell Microscopy McGill University (PhD, Chemistry)
Maddy received her Bachelor of Science with an Honours in Chemistry degree in 2020 from Saint Mary’s University (SMU). After completing her Master of Science in Applied Science at SMU in 2022, she started her PhD in Chemistry at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Janine Mauzeroll. Maddy has been involved in student leadership throughout her academic career; as an undergraduate student, she was Co-President of the SMU Chemistry Society and currently, she is part of the Chemistry Graduate Student Society and the Outreach group at McGill. Outside of the lab and extracurricular activities, you can find Maddy going on long walks and hikes, cooking, and playing board games with her lab mates and friends. Maddy’s current PhD work involves using scanning electrochemical cell microscopy to analyze titanium niobium oxide anodes. The following is a summary of Maddison’s research in her own words:
Titanium niobium oxide (TNO) has been identified as a next-generation battery material because it has an increased energy density (approximately 357 Wh/L) compared to lithium titanium oxide (LTO, 177 Wh/L), the current material used for fast-charging batteries. TNO also maintains other excellent characteristics of LTO such as safety and fast-charging capability. However, TNO particles in the size range of 0.0005 to 0.005 mm have been observed to crack during battery use, which causes particles to be electrically disconnected leading to these batteries having a limited lifetime. This project aims to determine why these TNO particles crack during battery operation using scanning electrochemical cell microscopy (SECCM). SECCM will be used to observe the TNO material on a microscopic scale to understand when and why the cracking occurs. SECCM is a scanning probe technique where a liquid-filled capillary with a 0.001 to 0.01 mm droplet at its tip moves to various areas to analyze TNO particles previously drop cast onto a conductive surface. With sufficient spacing of TNO particles on the conductive surface, individual TNO particles will be probed with SECCM to determine the performance of a single particle. With the info gained through SECCM, we can develop avoidance strategies such as ensuring minimal expansion and contraction of TNO particles during battery operation. Afterwards, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) will be performed to gain visual information about the TNO particles. The results from the SEM will be correlated with the SECCM results to determine the timing and reason for the TNO cracking. Our individual particle analysis will provide information on why TNO cracks which in turn helps develop safer, longer-lasting, higher energy, fast-charging batteries.
Noah Frymire – Modeling Interaction Between Small Modular Reactors and Permafrost Rock Western University (MESc, Civil Engineering)
Noah received his Bachelor’s in Engineering Science in Civil Engineering with a Co-Op from Western University in 2023. During this time, he completed an internship with Bird Construction along with extensive volunteering within his community. Noah is currently pursuing a master’s degree in geotechnical and environmental Engineering at Western University under the supervision of Bing Li and Tim Newson. In his spare time Noah enjoys playing soccer, hockey, going for hikes and fishing at his cottage. The Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Grant will help Noah cover travel expenses to collect samples in the Northwest Territories for his research project. It will also allow him to focus more of his time and energy into creating innovative solutions for his research. A summary of his research is described below:
Many northern regions with permafrost are not connected to the North American electricity grid. As a result, communities in those regions rely on diesel and fossil fuels as their primary energy sources. This heavy reliance on fossil fuels leads to poor air quality, which ultimately affects the health and well-being of the people living in these communities. Given the sparse population, constructing large reactors is not viable, however small modular reactors could be a potential solution. Permafrost poses a significant challenge for small modular reactors as the previously unthawed ground will be heated and possibly displaced.
My research project aims to investigate how foundations can be designed for small modular reactors in northern permafrost regions of Canada. Specifically, the project will investigate the design of these foundations by simulating realistic scenarios in a scaled-down laboratory setting. Both mechanical and numerical models will be created. The mechanical model will examine the behaviour, temperature change and displacements of simulated limestone rock masses along with changes in the apertures and persistence of emulated rock faults. For the numerical model the RS2 software created by Rocscience will be used to model temperature dependent geothermal rock masses around small modular reactors. Thermal conductivities and temperatures as previously modeled will be applied.
The study provide key data on what foundations are most suitable for small modular reactors, offering a crucial step in understanding how these reactors can be used to power remote communities.
Sophie Janke – Seasonal Green Hydrogen Storage Modeling Tool for a Northern Microgrid University of Victoria (MASc, Mechanical Engineering)
Sophie completed her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Dalhousie University 2022 and entered the workforce as a Project Manager at High Latitude Energy Consulting. Now, with support from High Latitude, Sophie is pursuing her MASc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria where she will be studying the potential of green hydrogen long duration energy storage for isolated northern communities. The following is a summary of Sophie’s research in her own words:
With diesel as the primary energy source, northern communities in Canada experience frequent environmental, social, and economic issues surrounding energy, shining light on the necessity for long duration energy storage. This research project aims to create a bespoke energy system model for green hydrogen as seasonal storage in the context of a northern microgrid. The model will surpass available industry software in terms of granularity and precision, utilizing a variety of open-source libraries and university resources to consider not only electricity flow in the microgrid, but also thermal energy, water management, and site-specific impacts on system health and operations. Research will be conducted to understand the unique energy goals of northern communities in Canada, with the overall goal of providing heightened confidence in system design, inevitably resulting in project implementation. The outcomes will be applied directly by the partner organizations and will be publicly available to ensure avid participation in collaboration for advancing research into green hydrogen seasonal storage across all sectors.
Credit: Esther Bordet
The Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Grant will allow me to allocate more time to my research, pursue more engagement opportunities with Northern connections, and explore direct project applications in more depth.
Having grown up in the Yukon Territory, and spending much of her life outside in the north, Sophie has a deep-rooted passion for the environment. Sophie is also part of a new NSERC CREATE graduate training program called Coastal Climate Change Solutions led by Dr. Julia Baum. This programs delivers enriched interdisciplinary and intersectoral training to prepare the next generation of leaders with the knowledge, experience, and skills to face climate change. Through school and work experience, Sophie has had great opportunities to implement her ideas into design problems and developed a fondness for sustainable design, electrochemistry, renewable energy, ocean chemistry, and climate science. Throughout her career, she hopes to find herself working closely with communities to find impactful solutions related to environmental sustainability.