Aimy Bazylak

Canada Research Chair in Thermofluidics for Clean Energy

Tier 2 - 2000-10-01
Renewed: 2019-04-01
University of Toronto
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


Research involves

Improving the performance of fuel cells.

Research relevance

This research will lead to more effective, efficient fuel cells, which offer great promise as a source of clean energy.

Making Fuel Cells a Clean Energy Reality

The fuel cell holds great promise as an environmentally friendly technology that could power vehicles using relatively little energy. But the technology isn’t quite there yet.

Fortunately, Dr. Aimy Bazylak, Canada Research Chair in Thermofluidics for Clean Energy, is on the case. Bazylak’s goal is to address one of the trickiest challenges in using fuel cells effectively.

A significant obstacle in using renewable energy sources (such as wind or sun) for clean electricity is that they are intermittent by nature, so the power they generate must be used or stored right away. To address this challenge, Bazylak and her research team are developing polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells and electrolyzers. An electrolyzer generates power from still water by separating the water into hydrogen and oxygen, then feeding them into a fuel cell. The PEM electrolyzer can generate hydrogen for future use in PEM fuel cells. When paired with renewable energy sources, PEM fuel cells provide electricity with zero emissions.

There’s a problem, though: fuel cell performance is compromised by water build-up. Bazylak’s goal is to design porous materials for use in fuel cells to avoid water build-up, in turn improving the efficiency and reducing the cost of PEM fuel cells and electrolyzers.

If this works, Bazylak believes PEM fuel cells and electrolyzers have enormous potential to become practical sources of green energy for vehicles, off-grid communities and backup power.