"I am particularly enjoying learning about the design and function of fuel cells from my Supervisor and my peers."

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Student Profile: John Alexander MacDonald

Sustainable Energy Engineering Master's student in the Faculty of Applied Science

December 22, 2020
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I am a recent graduate of Florida Golf Coast University, specializing in Environmental Engineering.  During my senior years at FGCU, I completed a number of projects that were focused on sustainability and sustainable energy systems development.  This experience sparked my interest in sustainability and reforming our energy economy.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose to study as SFU for several reasons.  First, curbing the use of fossil fuels and associated emissions of green house gases needs to be a top priority for Canada and other countries.   The Sustainable Energy Engineering program at SFU is focused on research that will enable us to accelerate the commercialization of hydrogen-powered vehicles and other sustainable energy sources.  Hence, SFU provides a unique opportunity to work on these important challenges.  In addition, studying at SFU provides me with an opportunity to work with leading researchers in this field, such my Supervisor Dr. Erik Kjeang.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

My research project is being conducted to determine if the performance of PEM fuel cells can be improved by expediting the removal of liquid water from the system.  The goal of the study is to determine the distribution of liquid water within the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) as a function of the design, operation, and degradation of the fuel cell.  More specifically, this study will evaluate water presence and movement in the microporous layer, catalyst layer, and membrane region of the fuel cell.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I am particularly enjoying learning about the design and function of fuel cells from my Supervisor and my peers.  It is clear that they have a wealth of knowledge to share and I am trying to soak it up.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

I received an award from the Florida-Canada Linkage Institute that enabled me to study at FGCU (in Ft. Myers, FL) for five years and earn my BS degree in Environmental Engineering. Also, support provided by SFU has enabled me to join the SEE Program and initiate my research on PEM fuel cells.

DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM TO THOSE WHO ARE SEARCHING.

The Masters program in SEE at SFU provides an amazing opportunity to make a tangible contribution for solving society's challenges relative to the ongoing use of fossil fuels and associated impacts on the global climate.  If you want to make a difference, this is a great place to make that happen.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?

When I am not studying fuel cells, I like to play golf and work out at the gym.  I also enjoy curling and tennis.

Contact John: jam33@sfu.ca