Majid Bahrami, Canada Research Chair in Alternative Energy Conversion Systems

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Research aims to improve low-cost graphite thermal management products

April 13, 2015
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A trio of Canadian companies that are targeting the $40 billion/year market for graphite thermal management products has partnered with researchers at Simon Fraser University and Ontario’s Sheridan College.

Graphite is an advanced engineering material with key properties that have potential applications in green energy systems, automotive components and heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.

The project combines expertise from SFU’s Laboratory for Alternative Energy Conversion and Sheridan’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies.

With $700,000 in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s College and Community Innovation Program, the researchers hope to accelerate the development and commercialization of new graphite products that will have a competitive edge in the thermal management products market.

Project lead Majid Bahrami, a professor in SFU’s School of Mechatronics Systems Engineering, says the project has strong potential for generating intellectual property, leading to advanced manufacturing processes as well as new, efficient graphite thermal products.

The companies include:

Terrella Energy Systems, which recently developed a roll-embossing process for high-volume, cost-effective manufacturing of micro-patterned, coated and flexible graphite sheets;

Alpha Technologies, a leading telecom/electronics manufacturer that is developing next-generation 'green' cooling solutions for its telecom/electronics systems;

Westport Innovations, which is interested in integrating graphite heat exchangers in its natural gas fuel systems, such as heat exchangers for heavy-duty trucks.

Bahrami, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Alternative Energy Conversion Systems, expects the project will also lead to significant training and future business and employment opportunities in the manufacturing, energy and natural resources sectors, as well as their supply chains.

"This project leverages previous federal government investment into world-class testing equipment, and SFU's strong industrial relationships and entrepreneurial culture, to realize collective benefits for students, researchers, and companies," says Joy Johnson, SFU's VP Research. "By working together and pooling resources, SFU and its partners will continue to generate novel green technologies and energy conversion solutions."