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Professor Aimy Bazylak (MIE) is advancing clean energy technologies, including catalyst-coated membranes, to advance hydrogen and clean energy. (photo by Jeremy Sale)

Professor Aimy Bazylak (MIE) is among this year’s recipients of the Dorothy Killam Fellowship. 

Awarded by the National Research Council, the Dorothy Killam Fellowships enable scholars of exceptional ability to devote their time to research projects with the potential to make a significant impact in their respective fields.      

I am tremendously honoured to receive this fellowship,” says Bazylak. “The two years of dedicated time to focus on my research is an invaluable opportunity to move our work forward at a pace that would not otherwise be possible.”  

Bazylak and her research group are advancing clean energy technologies by developing new catalyst-coated membranes to overcome cost and durability challenges of fuel cells, water electrolyzers and CO2 electrolyzers.   

Technologies for electrochemical energy have many layers with costly catalyst-coated membranes or catalyst layers at their core. But currently, there are limited options for catalyst-coated membranes from commercial vendors. Moving forward, Bazylak will design and develop custom layers, accelerating their development for optimal performance and durability.   

“These clean electrochemical energy technologies have phenomenal potential to transform our energy security around the globe. However, now more than ever, the largest challenges lie at the smallest length scales,” says Bazylak, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Clean Energy.    

“If we want to make these technologies affordable and long lasting, we need to control the design and performance of materials where the electrochemical reactions take place.”  

Bazylak has developed significant expertise around the microscale transport behaviour of gases and liquids around and through the various materials that surround the catalyst-coated membrane.   

Bolstered by this knowledge, her team is ready to move to the most challenging length scales and use their understanding of the surrounding materials to transform the technology. By controlling the parameters at the nanoscale, they can design a better performing, more efficient device, which can be used to alleviate greenhouse gas emissions.  

“When powered with renewable energy, polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) water electrolyzers produce hydrogen with heat as the only by-product,” she says.  

“This hydrogen can be used to fuel trucks, cars and trains powered by PEM fuel cells with zero-emissions, and CO2 electrolysis can be used to convert carbon dioxide emissions into carbon neutral fuels.”  

“A most heart-felt congratulations to Professor Bazylak on receiving the Dorothy Killam Fellowship,” says U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip.

“The research she is leading opens doors to new collaborations, both nationally and globally, and will bring us closer to creating sustainable and thriving global communities.”  

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