Dr. David Schwarz

Manager, Applied Energy Research Programs
Aurora Research Institute (Inuvik)
867-777-3298 ext. 252


Ph.D. degree in Astronomy from the University of Cambridge

M.A.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems, University of Victoria

M.Sc. degree in Astronomy from the University of Toronto

B.Sc. degree in Physics from the University of Alberta


Research statement

I have more than 20 years experience leading applied energy research. I have developed and managed programs in industry for wind and solar preliminary assessment, monitoring and resource assessment engineering work, and tested and assessed emerging technologies and processes for use in operational implementations. I have planned, implemented and directed activities for multi-disciplinary research programs and consortia projects in fuel cells and hydrogen as a Research Officer at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). My research work at the NRC focused on the development and application of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling tools for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM), direct methanol and solid oxide fuel cells in the development/validation of industrial-scale unit cell and stack designs for the penetration of target markets. I conducted research in multi-phase mass transfer models for gas diffusion layers and channels of fuel cells, enabling the development of sub-grid models for use in functioning stack models. I also developed CFD modelling tools for the analysis of hydrogen infrastructure and mass transfer in spacer filled membrane channels for separation processes. I have also managed research and development and new technology assessment and field testing programs and projects in the oil and gas industry.

I also have experience in operations, public strategy and policy development, and program and project performance management and evaluation: including as Senior Director of Science Policy, Operations and Evaluation in the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism at the Government of Alberta. While at the Government of Alberta, I directed the development of the Climate Change Innovation and Technology Framework, which guided investments under Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan in research, innovation and technology for climate change mitigation, and the associated performance management and evaluation plan (including the calculation of greenhouse gas emission reductions). I also directed work on the development of a provincial science policy and related action plan, including providing a grant to the Council of Canadian Academies to conduct an expert-based assessment on science policy for Alberta and publish a report “Science Policy: Considerations for Subnational Governments" for which I was a speaker in the panel session "Leveraging Federal Science: How Provinces Can Make a Difference in Strengthening Canadian Knowledge Production" at the 2017 Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa.

My current research focuses on conducting wind and solar resource assessment monitoring campaigns in communities throughout the Northwest Territories. Wind resource assessment is the systematic collection of wind data at a potential site for the installation of wind turbines. Lidar has emerged as a powerful tool to remotely sense wind characteristics via measurement of the Doppler shift of light emitted by the lidar and scattered back from particles in the atmosphere such as dust, moisture and pollen. This ability to remotely measure wind characteristics allows lidars to be used where it is practically difficult or financially impractical to install metrological towers. Measurements of a variety of meteorological parameters are typically taken with lidars over the course of several years. The measurements can be used to estimate the future power output of a variety of wind turbines, design wind turbine layouts, and estimate a site’s potential annual energy production, which will help communities make vital decisions about future wind energy projects.

Contrary to a few short years ago, the routine collection of site-specific solar resource data has quickly become standard practice in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry, just as it is in wind. Solar resource assessment refers to the analysis of a prospective solar energy production site with the end goal being an accurate estimate of that site’s potential annual energy production. Over a period of one to several years, solar sensors mounted on short masts are used to measure the solar resource. Data from a variety of other meteorological sensors are also collected to help characterize the resource, estimate PV panel efficiency and inform solar PV panel design decisions for the communities.


Significant contributions

Schwarz, D. H., Beale, S. B., 2009, Calculations of Transport Phenomena and Reaction Distribution in a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, vol. 52, pp. 4074-4081.

Beale, S. B., Schwarz, D. H., Malin, M. R., Spalding, D. B., 2009, Two-Phase Flow and Mass Transfer within the Diffusion Layer of a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell, Computational Thermal Sciences, vol.1, pp. 105-120.

Schwarz, D. H., Djilali, N., 2009, Three-Dimensional Modelling of Catalyst Layers in PEM Fuel Cells: Effects of Non-Uniform Catalyst Loading, International Journal of Energy Research, vol. 33, pp. 631-644.

Schwarz, D. H., Djilali, N., 2007, 3D Modeling of Catalyst Layers in PEM Fuel Cells: Effects of Transport Limitations, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, vol. 154, pp. B1167-B1178.

Schwarz, D. H., Pringle, J. E., 1996, A Self-Colliding Stellar Wind Model for SN1979C, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 282, pp. 1018-1026.

Martin, P. G., Schwarz, D. H., Mandy, M. E., 1996, Master Equation Studies of Collisional Excitation and Dissociation of H2 Molecules by H Atoms, Astrophysical Journal, vol. 461, pp. 265-281.