From January 2015 to December 2015, I worked for Hydrogen In Motion Inc. as a co-op research engineer. This co-op work experience enriched my skill set and gave me a better understanding of what interests me for my future career.
Although fuel cell battery is believed to be the next generation electricity source for over twenty years, the current level of technology for non-compressed hydrogen storage is still at the fundamental research stage. Hydrogen In Motion started a collaboration agreement with a specialist in hydrogen and fuel cells, Dr. Erik Kjeang of the School of Mechatronic System Engineering at SFU.
As one of the leading research companies in the hydrogen storage area, Hydrogen In Motion works on finding means of storing hydrogen using various methods, physic-sorption is the preferred method. Compared to other hydrogen storage methods, physic-sorption has two primary advantages. First of all, the storage medium material can be recycled and re-charged with hydrogen. More importantly, hydrogen can be released from the storage medium material without heat requirement so that it is more convenient to use.
The final outcome of this research will be the non-compressed hydrogen storage medium material and a prototype of the corresponding hydrogen storage tank. The prototype will be used by H2M as a basis for demonstration purposes with a two-year goal of commercializing the consequent of the collaboration.
During this co-op work experience, I accumulated plenty of knowledge on different engineering aspects. For example, the hydrogen storage test bench is controlled by a LabVIEW program. I learnt to debug and improve the program, telling the test bench to complete more complex tests as the research moved forward. Moreover, I spent lots of time developing and synthesizing hydrogen storage materials. During this process, I had to study chemistry knowledge by myself and finish the synthesis process by trial and error. After this co-op experience, I am confident to say I am a skilled engineer who will be able to take on different projects in the future.
In addition, I worked as interim lab general manager for over three months. My main job was to manage chemicals and other lab supplements, also ensure lab equipment is working properly at all times. By doing both a research job and a management job, I improved my multi-tasking and project management ability.
I have to thank Hydrogen In Motion Inc. and Dr. Erik Kjeang for providing such a good opportunity to work in this energetic lab with some splendid researchers. I hope there are more and more students who will be able to work and learn here.
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