Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Past Winner
2020 NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship

Department of Chemical Engineering

University of Waterloo

Nanotechnology is revolutionizing how we capture, store and transmit energy, but the high cost of producing carbon nanomaterials– one of the building blocks of nanotech – prevents its widespread adoption by industry. One of Aiping Yu’s goals is to produce large quantities of carbon nanomaterials for renewable energy applications. One million times thinner than a human hair, 200 times stronger than steel and highly conductive, graphene is a dream material for building lightweight, high-powered components. The University of Waterloo engineer is using graphene to enhance supercapacitors that can supply extra power to electric vehicle, trains, cranes and elevators, as well as micro-supercapacitors to power computers and medical devices.

Yu also applies carbon nanomaterials to traditional oil pipelines. Current pipelines have a protective lining almost five inches thick that degrades over time. Graphene, on the other hand, is impermeable to the corrosive gases and chemicals traveling through pipelines, allowing Yu’s lab to create a nanocarbon-based polymer coating only half the thickness compared to traditional pipe linings, leading to a nearly two-fold increase in oil transport efficiency and significant reductions in maintenance costs. With her innovative ideas, Yu is advancing the existing graphene and pipe lining industry in Canada, and ensuring Canada’s leading role in these material and energy sectors.

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