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Information for

Michael Fowler

Professor

Michael FowlerDegrees

  • BEng, Royal Military College, Kingston
  • MASc, Queens University, Kingston
  • PhD, Royal Military College, Kingston

Research interests

Modelling of Hydrogen Energy Hubs and ‘Power to Gas’ Energy Storage

One of the key questions to be addressed in the 'hydrogen economy' is the clean production and distribution of hydrogen.  Through a series of publications and presentations, my work has furthered the concept of 'clean energy hubs' as distributed energy generation systems including wind and solar, and large scale systems with CO2 free nuclear energy as a key components of the hubs. Unique to this work is the consideration of the electrical transmission system, specifically congestion in the system as constraints.  This work has principally included hydrogen as an energy vector, but also considered the impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles within such clean energy hubs. Current research includes the concept of ‘Power to Gas’ energy storage using electrolytic hydrogen production, and distribution of hydrogen within existing natural gas distribution system.

(Example Graduates in past 6 years – Award winning Project Engineer with GE Canada, Project Engineer with Hatch – Calgary, Engineer - Enbridge Gas Distribution)  

Reliability Assessment of Electrochemical Storage Systems

The application of fuel cell and battery systems has focused on operational performance and only recently much attention has been given to reliability of fuel cells and stacks.  I have contributed to the overall assessment, classification, and documentation of failure modes associated with polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells in a number of peer-reviewed articles. Within this work I have started the process of differentiating those failure modes which can be addressed with operational variables (i.e. reversible degradation) and those failure modes that will lead to the removal from service of a stack.  I have contributed to the classification and understanding of PEM failure modes that has led to development of ex-situ and in-cell accelerated testing protocols used by industrial partners (some of this work is confidential un-published work with 5 NSERC IPS students in last six years).

(Example Graduates – Senior Researcher with AFCC in BC, Engineer with Dana Inc in Oakville, Faculty in Thailand)

Development of Battery and Fuel Cell Hybrid Electric Power Train Vehicles and Test Benches

This research program has focused the development of battery and fuel cell hybrid powertrain ‘adaptive’ control systems and maintenance planning over the life of the energy storage systems to account for degradation and changes in the performance characteristics of the energy storage component.  This research includes assessment at both the single cell and stack (or pack) levels specific to electrochemical power sources used in vehicles. This research includes the in performance evaluation, diagnostics, and forensics associated with fuel cell stacks, single cells and batteries on test benches with thermal chambers, as well as both ‘hard-in-loop’ and ‘software-in-the loop’, as well as complete power train systems. (Ex. Graduates past 6 years – Founder of 20 person start-up in Waterloo, 5 students with GM)

Selected references

For publications see Google Scholar Profile for Michael Fowler, Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo,

 

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo