Sustainable Energy Sources, Processes, Products & Environmental Remediation

Fuel Cells - Energy Technology of the Future

Fuel cells are at the forefront of technologies that hold immense promise for electricity production in an environmentally responsible and efficient manner. The underlying theme of the research currently undertaken is to aid the development of efficient, robust and cheaper fuel cells and associated system components.

Various aspects of fuel cell research and development are being addressed through a combination of experimental work and mathematical modeling studies. Current fuel cell research activities include: the development of novel catalysts to allow usage of alternate and biomass-derived fuels in solid oxide fuel cells, exploitation of nanotechnology to design new electrodes for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, use of electric fields and nanomaterials to engineer fuel cell component materials with directional properties, development of mathematical models for fuel cell electrodes, design of integrated heat exchanger-catalytic burner for fuel cell systems, evaluation of alternative processes for chemical storage of hydrogen, fabrication of thin electrolytes and metal support, electrochemical characterization of fuel cell behaviour, and fundamental electrochemical kinetic studies of solid oxide cathode reactions.

Complementary research in the area of computational fluid dynamics, electro-catalysis, fuel processing, hydrogen storage, nanomaterials, and laser machining are being carried out as a part of a much larger fuel cell initiative in Kingston. Several of these projects are collaborative in nature and involve researchers from the Royal Military College and the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department of Queen's University.

Sustainable solutions in the plastics industry

In recent years the production and use of bioplastics has seen explosive growth driven by environmental concerns, waste disposal challenges and perceived future problems with the supply of petroleum products. Our research has the objective to develop economically viable, solvent-free, environmentally friendly processes to obtain fully bio-based products, with excellent engineering properties that can gain wide-spread consumer acceptance, while providing a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution. Applications are envisioned in automotive, packaging and foam processing. Students who are interested in conducting research in the area of sustainable polymers can apply to work toward a Collaborative Master’s in Applied Sustainability.

Sustainable products and environmental remediation

Anthropological activity since the beginning of the industrial revolution has resulted in unprecedented levels of pollution. The evaluation of the toxicity associated with this contamination must be carried out to determine the risks of exposure to contaminants. Our research focuses on bioaccessibility measurements, which evaluate the portion of a contaminant dose that may reach systemic circulation and pose risks to a sensitive receptor. The resulting data is used to reduce the costs associated with remediation by focusing remediation efforts to areas where risk has been identified. Research in innovative bioremediation methods also allows us to recommend the most effective approach to cleaning contaminated sites. Physical and chemical methods of remediation may be more expensive and less sustainable than bioremediation. We investigate in-situ and ex-situ bioremediation options of common environmental pollutants, such as petroleum hydrocarbons in soil and groundwater as well as in oil sands tailing ponds.

New products are constantly being introduced in our environment, and these must be designed for a sustainable and environmentally responsible life cycle. Our research includes in-depth investigations of the human and environmental health risks associated with the potential exposure to these novel products. Risk evaluations and environmentally-sound methods are used to prevent pollution before it occurs, to recover contaminants and remediate our environment, and to inform the design, manufacturing, use, and disposal of new products to minimize adverse effects.


NamesRankContactResearch Interests

Dominik P.J. Barz
Associate Professor dominik.barz@queensu.ca
Dupuis 213
(613) 533-6000 x79470
Microfluidics, Transport phenomena, Electrokinetics, Interfacial phenomena, Micro chemical and electrochemical reactors

Pascale Champagne
Professor champagne@civil.queensu.ca
Ellis Hall Room 206
(613) 533-3053

Michael F. Cunningham
Professor michael.cunningham@queensu.ca
Dupuis Hall 315
(613) 533-2782
Polymer science, polymer nanoparticles, polymer colloids, CO2 switchable polymers, cellulose nanocrystals, natural polymers

Marianna Kontopoulou
Professor marianna.kontopoulou@queensu.ca
Dupuis Hall 207
(613) 533-3079
Nanocomposites and conductive polymer composites, bioplastics, blends and foams, polymer processing and additive manufacturing
Louise Meunier Assistant Professor louise.meunier@queensu.ca
Dupuis 305
613-533-6000 x 78048
Bioaccessibility of inorganic contaminants; toxicity of contaminants in soils and mine tailings; computational fluid modelling and transport of contaminants in the human digestive system; environmental and human health risk assessments.

Brant A. Peppley
Professor brant.peppley@queensu.ca
Dupuis Hall 211
(613) 533-3247
Fuel Cells, Heterogeneous Catalysis, Reaction Engineering, Hydrogen Production, Bio-Energy

Juliana A. Ramsay
Professor juliana.ramsay@queensu.ca
Dupuis Hall 425
(613) 533-2770
Fermentation and product recovery, Pollution treatment, Bioremediation