SFU 2021 Vanier Scholar energizes fuel cell adoption

September 09, 2021
Emmanuel Balogun, PhD chemistry student, is among three SFU students awarded a 2021 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Curious about sustainable energy? Emmanuel Balogun, a PhD chemistry student, may just be the right person to ask.

Balogun is committed to helping others by finding a sustainable substitute for fossil fuels. Ever since taking a science class in his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, Balogun has been hooked on going green.

"In my science class, I learned about greenhouse gases, their devastating impact on our environment, and how our world is developing itself into extinction,” says Balogun. “My new-found knowledge sparked my passion for renewable and sustainable energy and has formed the motivation for the choices I have made since then."

It was this motivation that inspired Balogun to make the nearly 12,000-km journey from Lagos to Burnaby, where he joined SFU's Faculty of Science.

"I chose SFU primarily because it offers me the opportunity to work directly with one of the best minds in the fuel cell industry, professor Steven Holdcroft,” he says.

Balogun is among three SFU doctoral students awarded the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) this year. Valued at $50,000 per year for three years, the Vanier CGS program recognizes students for their academic excellence, research potential and leadership skills. Up to 166 scholarships are awarded annually across Canada.

Says Balogun, "These awards have helped significantly in ensuring that I focus squarely on my research and not be distracted by the extra difficulty of balancing teaching responsibilities with research and classes."

Balogun's research focuses on how to enhance fuel cell performance and reduce the cost by using environmentally friendly starting materials. He says the goal is to make them cheap enough that they are not just a green alternative, but a more cost-effective choice than the internal combustion engine.

Balogun is pleased with his experience so far at SFU. "As an international student, I always craved a community where I would be accepted and my difference wouldn’t be a divide,” he says. “I am happy that I found such a community here. I actually go to the lab every day knowing I’m going to work with friends and not just co-students or researchers.”

"We don’t just aim to do cutting-edge research together. We also endeavour to live our best lives while at it."


Discover research projects from the rest of SFU's 2021 Vanier scholars:

Zoe Long seeks to understand how new transport technologies, such as electric vehicles, can decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and what role policy can play in ensuring these innovations support climate change goals.

Jason Proulx focuses on how communities can understand and develop kindness, joy and social connection initiatives.