Call for M.Eng. students

The DGRC program invites interested M.Eng students to consider M.Eng. projects under the supervision of DGRC faculty members.

The program offers a unique setting for research projects with the opportunity to make an impact on remote, northern communities.

DGRC trainees are provided the opportunity to participate in DGRC workshops and other professional training opportunities, with the added possibility of travel to northern communities.

An M.Eng. project may be completed in lieu of three half-courses. Students working on a project must register in the program continuously. It is up to the student to approach professors with whom they would like to work on a project; professors are not obliged to supervise a project. Upon completion of a project, the student submits an M.Eng. project report to his/her faculty advisor, who grades the report.

On Tuesday, April 2nd, the NSERC CREATE Program in Distributed Generation for Remote Communities  (DGRC) organized a forum to share some of the results and progress of research projects undertaken in the past year.   The forum was an opportunity to consider further opportunities for collaboration among trainees and faculty, in addition to industrial and community partners.  Mathew Hoppe, technical manager of the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation spoke on the challenges and opportunities in working with remote First Nations communities in northern Canada.

We will be hosting a second forum for additional trainee presentations shortly.


DGRC Research Forum – Tuesday, April 2nd at 1:00pm

The NSERC CREATE Program in Distributed Generation for Remote Communities (DGRC) will host a forum Tuesday, April 2nd at 1:00pm in MB500, with presentations by DGRC trainees as well as Mathew Hoppe, Technical Manager, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation.


– Meeting Agenda–

Date: Tuesday,April 2, 2013
Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Location: Lassonde Mining Building, MB500, 5th floor (170 College Street)

1:10     Welcome & Program Update – Kristian Galberg & Professor Aimy Bazylak

1:20     Mathew Hoppe, Technical Manager, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation

1:30     Discussion – Program Objectives, Challenges & Opportunities

1:50     Katie Pelletier: “Comprehensive Energy Systems Evaluation and Community Assessment of the Fort Severn First Nation”

2:00     Vahid Amani: “Organic Rankine Cycle Power Generation for Remote Communities”

2:10     Jin Chang: “Towards an Accurate Model of the Electrode/Electrolyte Interface of Electrochemical Energy Storage Device or Electrolyser.”

2:20     Peter Yun Zhang: “Wind Farm Layout Optimization Considering Noise Propagation and Energy Production”

2:30     Jayesh Srivastava: “Lead-Users, Behaviour Change and Affordances”

2:40     Sanaz Katabi: “Polymer-ionic liquid Electrolytes for Electrochemical Capacitors”


Congratulations to DGRC trainee Essam El Sahwi

Congratulations to DGRC trainee Essam El Sahwi for winning first place together with Neno Kovacevic in the 2012 Zucker Design Contest for their project “FPGA Implementation of a Frequency Adaptive Three-Phase Sequence Detector Synchronization System for Real Time Power Systems Applications.”  The award was announced in Nov|Dec 2012 issue of IEEE Industry Applications Magazine.

Essam El Sahwi is supervised by Professor Francis Dawson.


Seminar Series – Aydin Nabovati, July 31st, 2012 at 12:00pm, Computational Modelling and Optimization of Energy Systems

Computational Modelling and Optimization of Energy Systems
Dr. Aydin Nabovati, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

When: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 12:00pm 

Where: MC310

Title: Computational Modelling and Optimization of Energy Systems

Abstract: In this talk, we will provide an overview of our research activities in the area of modelling and optimization of energy systems.

The first part of the presentation briefly introduces two main aspects of our research work in this area, namely: (i) Modelling transport phenomena in the gas diffusion layer (GDL) of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, and (ii) Multi-objective optimization of wind farm layouts.

In the second part of the presentation, we discuss in more details our work in modelling transport phenomena in porous materials. First, we will introduce briefly the Pore-level modelling approach for heat and fluid flow in porous materials using the lattice Boltzmann method. Results of our pore-level simulations on the effects of pore structure, porosity, and porosity distribution on macroscopic hydrodynamic and thermal properties of GDL samples will be presented. Theoretical aspects of flow in porous materials, including the open-porous interface boundary condition and effect of inertia in porous materials will also be addressed.

The outcomes of these simulations are used to characterize the different types of GDLs that are currently used in the manufacturing of fuel cell stacks.

Seminar Series – Keryn Lian, July 18th at 12:00pm, Advances in Solid Electrochemical Supercapacitors

Advances in Solid Electrochemical Supercapacitors
Professor Keryn Lian, Materials Science & Engineering

When: Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 12:00pm 

Where: MC331

Title: Advances in Solid Electrochemical Supercapacitors

Abstract: Electrochemical Capacitors (EC, also called supercapacitors or ultracapcitors) are energy storage devices that complement batteries and fuel cells. They store and release energy very quickly and can be charged and discharged up to a million times, which finds them more applications in stand-alone or in hybrid energy systems.

We have been developing novel electrodes and electrolytes materials for ECs to meet high power requirements. Specifically, we are studying solid polymer electrolytes, which enable light-weight, thin and flexible devices with high power and energy densities. While the devices have demonstrated superior power and rate performance at an ambient environment, we will also need to pay attention to the extreme conditions, especially low temperatures that often encountered in the remote communities. This talk will start with the fundamentals of the ECs. It will be followed by our new results in the Flexible Electronics and Energy Lab, and ended with our future approaches for the applications in remote communities.

DGRC Seminar – Thursday, June 14th at noon, Professor Francis Dawson

Energy Considerations and Waste Water Treatment for Canada’s Remote Communities
Professor Francis Dawson, Electrical and Computer Engineering

When: June 14, 2012, 12:00pm 

Where: MC310

Abstract: This presentation focuses on some of the challenges faced in providing wastewater treatment in remote northern communities. Xogen Technologies, a startup company based in Orangeville is working towards the development of an electrochemical wastewater treatment process that occupies a small footprint and that can be integrated with renewable forms of energy. The challenges include designing electrodes which have an acceptable lifetime (corrosion is inhibited), have an activation potential that creates desirable electrochemistry at the electrode surfaces and is energy efficient, and designing a power source which is fault tolerant, has high availability, is modular and accounts for changes in the electrical conductivity of the wastewater.

The presentation begins with a review of the energy, environmental/geographical and wastewater issues in remote northern communities followed by a brief review of conventional wastewater treatment processes. The presentation will conclude with the research we are undertaking with Xogen Technologies towards developing an electrochemical treatment process.

Professor Lian in Materials Science is a cosupervisor on this project and Essam El Sahwi is the MaSc student who will be working on the power supply and the design of a controller  for the electrochemical cell.


DGRC Seminar – Wednesday, May 30th at noon, Professor L.H. Shu

Lead-user Methods Applied to Environmentally Significant Behavior
Professor L.H. Shu, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

When: May 30, 2012, 12:00pm 

Where: MC331

Abstract: Lead users experience needs in advance of the general population and often devise their own solutions, as no products exist to do so. Lead users in environmentally significant behavior (ESB) undertake more conservation activities than most. Studying such lead users helps identify potential solutions to obstacles in product reuse, greener modes of transportation, and resource conservation. Three principles were identified to support ESB: 1. Discretization, to conserve continuous resources such as electricity and water, 2. Transformation, to enable product reuse and greener modes of transportation, e.g., public transit, bicycling, and 3. Localization, to reduce energy requirements in thermal comfort.

DGRC Associate Director, Aimy Bazylak, receives Early Researcher Award

DGRC Associate Director, Aimy Bazylak is one of seven U of T Engineering professors in the early stages of their research careers whose work has been honoured with funding from the Province of Ontario’s Early Researcher Awards (ERA) Program, which helps recently appointed Ontario researchers to build their teams and enables Ontario to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent. Each researcher receives $140,000 toward their projects.

“This research work is important to helping us meet our healthcare challenges while fostering long-term job creation and economic growth. Ontario is a leader in healthcare innovation, and this furthers that position,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation.

Bazylak says the ERA will enable her to “lead my research group to advance the understanding and development of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, which convert hydrogen and oxygen to electricity, with only water and heat as local by-products. This funding will enable me to use state-of-the-art x-ray radiography to study the microscale features of the fuel cell and develop a powerful modelling tool for designing the next generation of fuel cells.”


See the full release here:

DGRC Seminar Series continues this summer!

The DGRC Seminar Series continues throughout the summer.  Seminars are open to all members of the University community.  Faculty members associated with the program will deliver one hour talks about their research and provide some context about its application to remote communities.

Wednesday, May 30th at 12:00pm Professor Li Shu, room MC331

Thursday, June 14th at 12:00pm Professor Francis Dawson, room MC310

Wednesday, June 27th at 12:00pm Professor Olivera Kesler, room MC331

Wednesday, July 18th at 12:00pm Professor Keryn Lian, room MC331

Tuesday, July 31st at 12:00pm Aydin Nabovati (Post-Doctoral Fellow working with Dean Cristina Amon), room MC310

more to come


Check back soon for room locations.