Zhongwei Chen, PEng

Zhongwei Chen, PEng
Adjunct Faculty


Dr. Zhongwei Chen is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, Professor in Advanced Materials for Clean Energy at the University of Waterloo, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Director of Waterloo Center for Electrochemical Energy, Associate Editor of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, and Vice President of International Academy of Electrochemical Energy Science (IAOEES).
His research interests are in the development of advanced energy materials and electrodes for fuel cells, metal-air batteries, and lithium-ion batteries. He has published 3 book, 9 book chapters and more than 300 peer reviewed journal articles (e.g. Nature Energy, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, Advanced Materials, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie, Energy & Environmental Science) with over 28,000 citations with a H-index of 83 on Google Scholar. He is also listed as inventor over 30 US/international patents, with several licensed to companies internationally.
His research activities are currently supported by a large and highly integrated team, comprising over 30 research associate/postdoctoral fellows and 30 graduate students. In addition, Dr. Chen has already trained more than 80 others through his research program, totaling over 100 highly qualified personnel in all.
Dr. Chen is actively collaborating with industries and government labs such as Ballard Power Systems, General Motors, and Canadian Solar. He was the recipient of the 2016 E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowship, the member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists in 2016, the fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2017, the Rutherford memorial medal from The Royal Society of Canada in 2017, which followed shortly upon several other prestigious honors, including the Ontario Early Researcher Award, an NSERC Discovery Supplement Award, the Distinguished Performance and Research Award. In 2018 and 2019, Dr. Chen was ranked as the Global Highly Cited Researchers by Clarivate Analytics. He was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2019.

Research Interests

  • Fuel Cell, Catalyst, Proton Exchange Membrane, Core Shell, Nanoparticles, Carbon Nanotubes, Metal Nanotubes, Zeolite, Nanocomposite Membranes, Water Purification, Nanostructured Fuel Cell Catalysts, Nanostructured Materials, Advanced Manufacturing, Water

Scholarly Research

Our research work is at the interface of science and engineering. The main focus of our work is in utilizing nanomaterials for advancing technologies important to alternative energy and environment needs. Our work includes understanding proton-exchange membrane and electrode catalyst in fuel cells to improving efficiency of fuel cells. Hydrogen and methanol fueled proton exchange membrane fuel cells have been identified as being promising for powering vehicles, homes, and portable electronics such as laptop computers. We are working on the two key components of a fuel cell, the electrocatalysts and the proton-exchange-membrane (PEM). The focus of our catalyst work has been for improved utilization, durability and activity. Areas of particular interest are (i) Carbon nanotubes and nanofibers supported catalysts; (ii) Metal nanotubes and nanowires synthesis and their application in fuel cells; (iii) Novel nanostructured non-precious metal catalysts; (iv) New core-shell catalyst concepts involving Pt catalysts; (v) Degradation mechanisms of catalyst systems in fuel cell environments; (vi) Nanocomposite membranes for high temperature PEM fuel cells and DMFCs. In addition, we will extend research on nanotechnology to consider new nano-membranes, nano-sorbents, and nano-catalysts for water purification, renewable energy production, and environmental remediation.


  • 2008, Doctorate Chemical Engineering, University of California, Riverside, USA
  • 2002, Master's Chemical Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, China
  • 1996, Bachelor's Materials Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Technology, China


  • 2007 Dr. Bernard S. Baker Student Award


  • CHE 331 - Electrochemical Engineering
    • Taught in 2021
  • CHE 602 - Chemical Reactor Analysis
    • Taught in 2021, 2023
  • CHE 750 - Special Topics in Electrochemical Engineering, Interfacial Engineering & Materials Science
    • Taught in 2020
  • NE 499 - Special Topics in Nanostructured Materials
    • Taught in 2020

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

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Graduate studies