Mia Stankovic, a PhD candidate from Berlinguette Group at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Chemistry and the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (Blusson QMI), is among the three winners of the 2022 Tyler Lewis Green Research Foundation grant for her research on the decarbonization of chemical manufacturing using a membrane reactor.
Mia said the project aims to create a hydrogen economy without using hydrogen gas to develop products that can be readily integrated into existing infrastructure offering immediate solutions to decarbonization.
“Our reactor, which we have nicknamed “Thor” was designed to create and use atomic hydrogen in one concerted system. This unique reactor design eliminates the need to transport and store large quantities of explosive hydrogen gas, which is sourced from fossil fuels,” said Mia.
Thor sources hydrogen from water by using electricity to split water into oxygen gas and reactive hydrogen atoms. The Thor reactor is designed to transfer these hydrogen atoms through a membrane into a compartment where the hydrogen can be used to upgrade chemicals.
“My goal for this project is to develop chemical hydrogenation pathways that can be integrated into the real world. I am currently exploring the production of fuels and commodity chemicals from biomass-derived compounds as an alternative to petrochemicals,” Mia said.
“The Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Fellowship helps support me in my graduate studies. This award allows me to focus on my research without taking on a part-time job. I hope to use this grant to better connect with my scientific community through conferences, outreach, and collaborative projects.”
Mia graduated from Queen’s University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. During this time, she competed on the varsity water polo team and volunteered with women in science and engineering.. Mia accepted a master’s position in the Berlinguette Group at UBC, which quickly turned into a PhD. Mia is currently the lead graduate student on the Berlinguette Group’s Thor project. Mia has been responsible for training several junior graduate students and co-op students who have joined the Thor team. She also serves as the project lead for a large industrial collaboration. Mia’s passion for science and sustainability has not stopped in the lab; she has been working with the entire Thor team to design outreach projects about electrochemistry for events like Girls in STEAM at Science World.