Paran Sarma and Daivik Mehta are two PhD students from India immersed in fuel cell research and study at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus.

SFU students aim to bring green technology to Big Oil

Paran Sarma and Daivik Mehta are the first to participate in a joint PhD program between the university and Indian Oil Corporation.

Two PhD students from India immersed in fuel cell research and study at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus hope to advance clean technology development when they return home to India later this spring.

Paran Sarma and Daivik Mehta are the first to participate in a joint PhD program created through a partnership between SFU and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). They will head back home in May to continue their research programs, and will return to SFU in about three years to defend their theses and receive their doctoral degrees.

The two were chosen from more than 100 applicants and arrived at SFU last May. Under the arrangement, Indian Oil provides a fellowship towards the SFU PhD program, allowing Indian citizens to spend one year at SFU and a further three years in Indian Oil’s research and development centre. SFU provides a stipend and tuition award during the year at SFU.

The program aims to broaden the students’ research perspectives by exposing them to expertise, techniques and technologies, while enriching the research capacity of both partners and stimulating innovation. The program received more than 140 applications for its second round, which begins in May.

Over the past year, the two students have been based at SFU’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering fuel cell research lab, where professor Erik Kjeang supervises their research into the effects of various contaminants and degradation on fuel cells’ performance.

“These students have the potential to become future leaders in India’s emerging clean energy sector, and help pave the way for implementing zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in major cities,” says Kjeang.

The two students hope to help set up a fuel cell research lab at IOC. Ultimately they want to more create reliable and affordable fuel cells that can be commercialized.

“India is a major consumer of fossil fuels and with climate action in the driver’s seat, green technology has become the need of the hour,” says Sarma, who is training to assemble fuel cells and run fuel-cell test stations. “Our aim is to find cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.”

Mehta is developing mathematical models to predict fuel cell performance under various operating conditions.

“This work will help to gain an understanding of poisoning mechanisms of fuel cells in a better way, and thereby help in developing effective mitigation strategies to enhance the fuel cell performance,” he says.

Sarah Dench, director of SFU International, says it is gratifying to see the progress of the first two students in the program.

“Their work with Dr. Kjeang is helping to forge deeper research connections between SFU and Indian Oil, and ensuring the reciprocal nature of the relationship. It’s a stellar example of the approach we articulated in the SFU International engagement strategy.”

FAST FACTS:

• SFU and Indian Oil Corporation signed a Memorandum of Agreement in October 2014 to partner on hydrogen and fuel cell research, with a focus on clean energy technology and advanced materials.

• An earlier Memorandum of Understanding (May 2014) laid the groundwork for a PhD Mobility Agreement to establish post-graduate training for Indian students.

• The collaboration will promote further exchanges for SFU faculty and students, including potential student co-op placements in IOC’s world-class research and development facility.

• SFU is a leader in fuel cell research, heading a national network for fuel cell innovation and participating in projects with world-class companies such as Ballard Power Systems.

• SFU has myriad partnerships with India, and in 2014 also joined Ryerson University, Ryerson Futures Inc. and the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute to develop and launch Zone Startups India, an international tech business incubator and accelerator program.. It aims to accelerate research and development in both countries while training entrepreneurs and developing startups for local and international markets.

 

Just Posted

Surrey’s Amazing Tutors donates hundreds of ‘Sunshine Food Bags’ to those less fortunate

For three years, volunteers and students have been putting together donation packages

Surrey’s Khalsa Lions take in bronze in Fraser Valleys

The senior girls team will be heading to the provincials for the first time in the school’s history

Delta supports proposed Health Canada regulations for cannabis edibles

Regulations focus on standardizing THC content, making sure edibles aren’t appealing to youth

Junior Team Canada brings home gold to the Lower Mainland, again

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Most Read