Research Overview

Water   Osmotic   Geothermal   PNM   Other   Projects

My primary research focus is in the area of Thermofluids Science with particular interest in sustainable energy and water technologies. This includes but not limited to water purification, seawater desalination, solar and geothermal energy, osmotic power, and energy recovery devices. We are using experimental and numerical research tools such as pore network modeling for transport in porous media, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), exergetic analysis, and experimental design in fluid dynamics, heat transfer and mass transfer, and thermophysical and transport properties. Descriptions of some of research projects are given in the links below.


We are investigating different technologies for saline water desalination systems suitable for decentralized small-scale water production for arid and off-grid areas as well as for agriculture and food processing applications. The humidification and dehumidification desalination (HDH) is one of these technologies that have been patented and commercialized in the water industry. Other water-related research activities cover pressure retarded osmosis (PRO), nanofiltration (NF), hybrid cycles, and thermophysical properties of saline waters. (See Publications page)  

HDH Schematic    HDH Pilot    HDH Experiment

Osmotic Power

Osmotic energy is the energy available from mixing two aqueous solutions of different salinities. The chemical potential difference between sea water and river water is equivalent to 270 m of hydraulic head. When two solutions of different salinities (e.g. fresh water and seawater) are separated by a membrane which allows only water to pass through it, water from the low salinity side will flow to the high salinity side. This flow will continue until the salinities on both sides of the membrane are equalized or the pressure on the saline water side is high enough to stop further flow. We are investigating different technologies to harvest this energy at river mouths. Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is one of these technologies that is under development for feasible large scale plants. (See Publications page)

PRO Schematic 1    PRO Schematic 2    


Borehole heat exchanger (BHE) is a major component in ground-source heat pumps (GSHP). In hot weathers, BHE facilitate the ground (which is relatively at lower temperature than ambient) as a heat sink to reject heat from the refrigeration cycle. This increases the coefficient of performance (COP) of the refrigeration cycle and save up to 30% of the energy. Experimental and computational models are developed to assess the performance of BHE at different locations with or without groundwater. In situ thermal response tests are conducted to measure the effective soil thermal properties and the effective pipe-to-borehole thermal resistance. (See Publications page)  

Geothermal Schematic    Ground Temperature

Pore Network Modeling (PNM)

Pore network modeling (PNM) is a simulation method for studying transport in porous media. It consists of a network of pores and throats that topologically represent a porous media, where pores are the voids and throats are the local constrictions that connect the adjacent pores. With the help of micro computed tomography (CT) images, PNM could predict the macroscopic petrophysical and transport properties of the porous media and can accurately describe microscopic flow mechanisms, which include multi-phase flow, wettability, capillary trapping, dissolution, diffusion and convection at the pore scale. We are using PNM to simulate CO2 injection in underground geologic reservoirs for carbon sequestration as well as to simulate the flow of water in different kind of membranes.  

PNM 1    PNM 2


Other research activities include pool boiling heat transfer, bubble column reactors, humidification and dehumidification processes, refrigeration and HVAC systems, energy recovery devices, and hybrid co-generation plants for water and power production. The following is a list of current and past research projects. 


Research Projects

  • Sustainable refrigeration system for frozen food industry
  • Salinity gradient energy: awaking the silent watefalls at river mouths
  • Household water treatment and safe storage system for first nations
  • Thermalhydraulic analysis of EnviroCoil heat exchanger for refrigeration applications
  • Small scale osmotic power systems for remote communities in Northern Ontario
  • Geomechanical processing during geologic sequestration of CO2
  • Improving transport in porous layers of PEM fuel cells and electrolyzers
  • Solar-assisted thermally activated unitary air conditioning system
  • Carbon capture via oxyfuel combustion in an ion transport reactor
  • Solar desalination systems for decentralized small-scale water production
  • Optimal and sustainable design of hybrid co-generation plants
  • Experimental measurements of seawater thermal conductivity
  • Performance analysis of seawater cooling towers
  • Thermophysical properties of seawater
  • Seawater desalination using thermal, solar, and hybrid systems
  • Ground source heat pump systems for air conditioning applications
  • Investigating the energy efficiency of greenhouse evaporative cooling
  • Analysis of water circulation and dynamics in water tube boilers
  • Design and development of an electrical deep well pump
  • Pool boiling heat transfer from externally finned tubes