2023 Grant Project Updates and Recap

It has been an exciting year for the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation. The Foundation would like to celebrate the achievements of the 2022 grant recipients and recognise all of the work they accomplished over their funding period. Below is a recap of grant recipients’ research activities, milestones and accomplishments for the past year.

Marie-Pier Trépanier – Simulating the Interior Microclimate and Artificial Lighting of Greenhouses in Order to Improve Energy Efficiency and Determine the Best Type of Renewable Energy for Greenhouses, Université Laval (M.Eng., Mechanical Engineering)

  • Marie-Pier conducted simulations of the indoor microclimate and artificial lighting in greenhouses to improve energy efficiency and identify optimal renewable energy sources. After validating and refining the simulation model, she tested different energy efficiency measures and lighting types. In particular, thermal screens proved to be essential in cold weather, and LED lighting proved to be critical in low daylight conditions. Marie-Pier also studied the impact of climate change, anticipating challenges such as excess heat in the summer and the associated energy demand for cooling. This forward-looking approach aims to develop sustainable solutions that address both current and future environmental considerations in greenhouse management.
  • Last spring, Marie-Pier completed an international research internship at Southern Denmark University (SDU), specifically at the Energy Informatics Center. This experience not only allowed her to interact with professionals in her field, but also gave her a first-hand look at different research methodologies. Denmark’s reputation as a hub for green energy initiatives further enhanced her understanding of sustainable practices.
  • Marie-Pier has achieved a significant milestone by summiting three scientific articles on greenhouse horticulture. Her research addresses the sensitivity analysis of lamp model parameters to optimize energy and yield simulations; the overall impact of lighting systems, energy efficiency measures, and local contexts on greenhouse energy use, yield, and costs; and the global challenge of climate change on energy use and yield in greenhouse horticulture.
  • Marie-Pier presented her research at two conferences: a poster at the Canadian Greenhouse Conference in Toronto and a conference paper at the Energy Informatics Academy Conference in Campinas, Brazil. These opportunities exposed her to many advances in the energy field.
  • Marie-Pier will complete her master’s degree this winter semester and plans to begin her PhD studies in the spring. Her doctoral research will focus on the intersection of energy and housing, with a particular focus on green energy initiatives. She aims to explore this field through the lens of energy justice, seeking to address equitable access and distribution of sustainable energy resources in residential settings.

Mia Stankovic – Decarbonization of Chemical Manufacturing Using a Membrane Reactor, University of British Columbia (PhD, Chemistry)

  • Mia has successfully developed the first electrochemical route to produce 2-methyltetrahydrofuran, a biofuel, from a biomass-derived starting material called furfural. She utilized a membrane reactor to overcome the thermodynamic constraints that limit 2-methyltetrahydrofuran production in conventional electrochemical reactors.
  • Mia’s work on 2-methyltetrahydrofuran production has been published in the journal of Energy and Environmental Science (https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2023/ee/d3ee01079a) and she also delivered a research talk at the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition in Vancouver (June 2023).
  • In addition, her research on electrolytic production of biofuels using a membrane reactor gained international recognition when she presented a poster at the Electrochemical Society Conference in Gothenburg in October 2023.  Mia is honored to have met international leaders in the field of electro-organic chemistry and discussed new scientific directions.
  • Currently, Mia is leading her research subgroup and working on publishing another project on hydrogen storage materials. She enjoys mentoring new students in the group and supporting her colleagues in achieving their collective goal of decarbonizing chemical manufacturing.
  • Mia is hoping to complete her PhD in the fall and find a job where she can leverage her expertise in interdisciplinary chemistry, scientific communication, and sustainable chemical manufacturing to bring new technologies to market.