Dr. Jerzy Szpunar
Canada Research Chair in Advanced Materials for Clean Energy
The Big Question
Canada’s energy industries require high-performance materials to generate, transport and store energy. University of Saskatchewan researcher Jerzy Szpunar is finding safer and more environmentally friendly processes to meet these needs.
As Canada is the world’s leading uranium producer and nuclear power provides much of our country’s energy, it is important to continue improving these technologies. Szpunar studies novel materials that better resist radiation damage and handle the high temperatures, corrosion and stress found in nuclear power reactors.
Szpunar is also exploring industrial materials such as new steels that can safely transport gas and oil through pipelines in northern Canada’s demanding climate.
In all his work, Szpunar is partnering with Canada’s energy industries to discover materials to help make them safer and more productive.
Szpunar developed his broad interests in materials research working in Denmark, Finland, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and the United Kingdom before coming to Saskatoon.
He was drawn to the U of S by the Canadian Light Source and the opportunity to work alongside the world-class researchers who have gathered around the country’s national synchrotron facility.
“Obviously having the CLS is an advantage,” Szpunar says. “I’m interested in the structural changes in materials and imaging the structure of materials. With the CLS we can do tests on how materials perform in a special environment with high temperatures, corrosion and high pressure.”
Szpunar is motivated by the desire to serve the needs of both society and environment.
“Engineers and scientists have to respond to the demands of society,” he says. “And society is concerned with pollution, climate change and developing green energy.”