Postdoctoral Fellow, Toward Net Zero Transportation – Hydrogen Production and Usage

Posting Expiry

14 December 2018 - 12:00am


Toward Net Zero Transportation – Hydrogen Production and Usage

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver campus (, invites applications for 1 full-time, postdoctoral fellow on the use of hydrogen in internal combustion engines. This postdoctoral fellowship is funded by a collaboration with Hydra Energy Corporation and the scope of work includes assessing Hydra’s business model while considering different policy scenarios.

The position will be within Dr. Walter Mérida’s research group and complement prior and existing work investigating emissions from heavy duty vehicles(1). The data show the that greenhouse gas emissions from road transportation in the province of British Columbia account for 25% of the total emissions. Half of these emissions are from heavy-duty vehicles, and Hydra is targeting these vehicles. Hydra has partnered with a major chemical company that vents 12.4 MT/day of hydrogen in Prince George B.C. The partner is the largest commercial fleet operator in the area. While the technical challenges are being investigated, a thorough analysis of their business model and assessment of current and new policies is required. This project will initiate a long-term collaboration between Hydra and Dr. Walter Mérida’s group at UBC.

The overall objective of the project is to identify and advance technologies that can lead to the reduction of carbon emissions from the use of hydrogen in heavy duty vehicles. The research project will be focused on the use of hydrogen in internal combustion engines and Hydra’s business model while considering different policy scenarios.

The objectives for the research program are:

  • To identify the most promising technologies for hydrogen production and usage.
  • To evaluate the business models of the different hydrogen production systems.
  • To evaluate the effect of different policy scenarios to the business models.

Some of the areas of investigation include the following:

  • Literature review and technology assessments for different hydrogen sources and hydrogen purification processes.
  • Techno economic analysis of Hydra’s proposed business plan of using the vented hydrogen and the cost associated with it.
  • Comparison of cost and emissions generated by hydrogen internal combustion engines and other alternatives, e.g., electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.
  • Assessment and modelling of different policies and their effect on cost and technology development.

The fellowship will be for a one-year appointment, renewable for one additional year, subject to a performance assessment. There is the potential for the position to be extended beyond two years as a Research Associate. The position is available from now until it is filled. Review of applications will begin on September 30th, 2018. Interested candidates with a Ph.D. in computer science, electrical and computer engineering, energy systems or any closely related discipline, completed within the last 3 years are encouraged to apply.  Applications must include a cover letter, curriculum vitae and names and contact information of three references and can be submitted to Dr. Omar Herrera at

Applicants are asked to complete the following equity survey: The survey information will not be used to determine eligibility for employment, but will be collated to provide data that can assist us in understanding the diversity of our applicant pool and identifying potential barriers to the employment of designated equity group members. Your participation in the survey is voluntary and anonymous. This survey takes only a minute to complete. You may self-identify in one or more of the designated equity groups. You may also decline to identify in any or all of the questions by choosing "not disclosed".

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence.  An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged.  We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.  

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

Review of applications will begin in the week of November 5, 2018. Applications will be accepted through December 14, 2018.

(1) Talebian, H., Herrera, O. E., Tran, M. & Mérida, W. Electrification of road freight transport: Policy implications in British Columbia. Energy Policy 115, 109–118 (2018).