Laboratory for Alternative Energy Conversion (LAEC)

Simon Fraser University, Surrey, British Columbia
What the facility does

Analysis, testing and material characterization services in the general area of energy systems.

Areas of expertise

At LAEC, we seek to understand and solve fundamental problems at multiscale levels to improve energy conversion efficiency in devices such as compact heat exchangers, fuel cells, batteries, refrigeration systems and electronic cooling systems. We strive to conduct cutting-edge research in collaboration with industrial partners and provide novel solutions for sustainable energy-conversion systems.

We offer a wide range of services, including:

  • Battery: research and development, battery thermal management system, battery management system, battery characterization and rating tests, regularity compliance
  • Thermophysical properties measurements:
    • thermal conductivity, thermal contact resistance
    • electrical conductivity, electrical contact resistance
    • permeability
    • diffusivity, porosity specific heat.
  • Heat sinks and heat exchangers: design and testing, numerical simulation and modelling, pressure drop and heat transfer measurements, heat exchanger rating.
  • Electronic cooling and enclosure design: analysis and testing with wind tunnel, temperature mapping with IR camera, design and modelling.
  • Nano, micro, and macro hardness and elasticity tests, scratch tests.
  • Surface characterization: roughness and out-of-flatness measurements.
Research services

Research and development for battery thermal-management systems, green cooling solutions for power electronics, green air conditioning and refrigeration systems for service vehicles, adsorption cooling systems for automotive applications, integrated thermal management system for hybrid electric vehicles, transport properties of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell materials, transport phenomena in microchannels, microstructured materials and porous media, thermal management of air-cooled PEM fuel cells.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Automotive
  • Clean technology
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
  • Transportation
  • Utilities
Specialized labEquipmentFunction
Laboratory for Alternative Energy Conversion

Power processing and power cycling system from AeroVironment™


Testing of individual components, battery pack, energy storage device or partial drivetrain, allowing true hardware-in-the-loop testing. A wide range of charge/discharge tests and development are supported.
 Battery performance calorimeter (BPC) from Thermal Hazard Technology (custom ordered)Thermal measurement of single batteries and battery modules. Includes elliptical chamber with dimensions of 650mm major axis, 500mm minor axis and 500mm height, allowing.
 Transient Plane Source thermal constants analyzer (TPS 2500 S)Precision analysis of thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity & specific heat capacity of solids, liquids, powders, pastes, foams.
 Heat Flow Meter from Netzsch (HFM 436 Lambda)Measuring thermal conductivity of low-conductivity materials such as insulations.
 Environmental chamber (ESPEC EPX-4H)This environmental chamber features better stabilization and energy savings.
 Environmental chamber (Thermotron XSE 3000-10-10)Can be configured as a temperature only or temperature and humidity chamber & can be added to a temperature climate chamber as a field retrofit.
 Nano/micro indentation testing facility and nano/micro mechanical hardness/scratch apparatus from NanoveaCan perform high-precision nano, micro and macro hardness and elasticity modulus measurements for a wide range of materials and surfaces.
 Flow visualization system from LaVision (FlowMaster 2D PIV)Enables velocity measurements and particle tracing in mini-, micro- and nanochannels and other microfluidic (e.g. lab-on-chip) devices, porous media, gas-diffusion layers (GDLs), micro/nanofluidic fuel cells and compact heat exchangers.

Facilities for convective heat and mass transport from Greenlight Innovation

(fuel cell test bed FCAT G40)

Enables characterization of a complete array of convective transport parameters and includes state-of-the-art laboratory-scale fuel cell testing capabilities for small-scale micro/nanofluidic and PEM fuel cell devices.
 Variable-speed (1200 CFM) wind tunnel from AIRFLOW Measurement SystemsIncludes straighteners, calibrated nozzles for flow measurement, manual blast gate and a variable-speed auxiliary blower.
 Surface Profilometer (Surftest SJ-400)Measures a complete range of surface-roughness characteristics required in interfacial transport analyses.
 Thermal conductivity and thermal contact resistance test bedAccurate measurements of thermal conductivity and thermal contact resistance.
 Cellkraft AB HumidifierControls the humidity, flow rate and temperature of a gas flow.
 FLIR® Infrared cameraCaptures and records thermal distribution and variations in real time, enabling accurate measurement of heat patterns, dissipation, leakage and other temperature factors in a wide range of thermal-management systems
 TA Instruments Thermomechanical Analyzer (TMA Q400EM)Measures sample dimensional changes under different conditions that can be controlled over time: temperature, force and atmosphere.
 Autosorb-iQ from Quantachrome InstrumentsDetermines material porous nature (pore diameter, total pore volume, surface area, & bulk and absolute densities) & monitors the pressure changes in a calibrated volume sample cell to determine adsorbed volume of gas.
 Thermogravimetric Sorption Analyzer IGA-002 from Hiden IsochemaThis system measures the magnitude and dynamics of gas and vapor sorption of materials including pharmaceuticals, carbons, catalysts, zeolites, clays and polymer.
 Symmetrical Modified Loschmidt Cell – SMLC-003A from Waterloo Technical Instruments Inc.Measures the effective diffusion coefficient of sub-millimeter thick materials, such as the gas diffusion layer (~200μm), microporous layer (~50μm), and catalyst layer (~10μm) of PEM fuel cells. Can achieve a measurement accuracy of up to ±2%.
 HHeat Exchanger Testing FacilitiesThe test bed can plate heat exchangers under different working conditions and liquids, ranging from pressurized hot water to liquid nitrogen, can be tested. Temperature drop/gain, pressure drop and volumetric flow rated can also be measured and monitored.
  • Cool-it Hi-Way Services
  • CrossChasm Technologies
  • Saputo
  • Future Vehicle Technology (FVT Research)
  • Analytic Systems
  • Ballard Power Systems
  • The Alpha Group
  • Terrella Energy Systems Ltd.
  • Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell
  • AFCC
  • Delta-Q
  • DPoint
  • BW Global
LAEC research group’s publications
LAEC video tour