Dr. Handan Tezel


Video of the Researcher

Lab name

ENERGY – S.M.A.R.T. Group




Full name

Dr. Handan Tezel


Storing heat from industrial processes in non-toxic rechargeable thermal batteries to be used to heat commercial and residential buildings

Type of researcher

Principal Investigator

Introduce yourself, your experience and your credentials

Professor Tezel started her undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey and later transferred to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, USA where she received her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering in 1979.

She then moved to Canada to continue her graduate work, receiving her M.Sc.E. and Ph.D. degrees from University of New Brunswick in 1981 and 1986, respectively. Professor Tezel joined the University of Ottawa as an Assistant Professor in 1988, following two years of Post-Doctoral studies at the University of New Brunswick. She then was promoted to Associate and Full-Professor in 1993 and 2003, respectively. She was the Vice Dean of Research for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa from July 2010 until June 2015.

She spent a sabbatical leave at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2004, as a Research Engineer working in their Adsorption Technology Center. Prof. Tezel also worked as a Part-time Professor in Ecole des Mines de Nantes, in France in 2006 and 2007. In 2014 she spent part of her sabbatical in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, as well as in Malaysia at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. Currently Dr. Tezel is on the executive committee of the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineering as their Director of Conferences. She is also serving on the Energy task force for the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, as well as on the advisory board for the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems.

Describe your research

I want to talk to you about how this thermal energy storage technology works. Imagine a column like this, that I’m holding. You pass moist air at the inlet of this column on one hand, let’s say at room temperature. As you can see this column is actually packed with some sponge-like material that has a lot of surface area to absorb the water that’s coming with the air.

What happens is that these water molecules get absorbed on this sponge-like material. This process is called adsorption, which releases heat. Then the air that carries the moisture actually gets heated up.

When you start at room temperature on one end of the column, on the other end of the column while the air is leaving, it’s going to be heated up at higher temperature (50 or 70 degrees centigrade). You can take that air and pass it through your space heater.

Now that we did the discharging, how do we charge the system with thermal energy?

The sponge-like material was saturated at the end of the discharging with moisture. During the charging process, we take the thermal energy that could come from solar heat, waste heat or any industrial heat or any industrial heat that you might have.

You take that heat and pass it through your column. What that heat is going to do is release the moisture from the sponge-like material and charge your system.

At the end of the charging system, your whole column is going to be dry and free of any moisture that you might have in your system. As long as you don’t pass any moist air

in your system, you can store your energy forever.

Explain its significance

How is this thermal energy storage technology different from other thermal energy storage technologies that we are used to?

First of all, it does not contain any toxic chemicals. Batteries that you might have all contain nasty chemicals that is not good for the environment. But in this technology, we have three components: the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, and the earth that we walk on. There are no toxic chemicals that we need to get rid of.

Another advantage of this thermal energy storage using adsorption material is the fact that this technology stores the energy forever. If you store the energy today you will not lose it in a couple of days.

As long as you control what you put into the system, you can store your energy forever, which is a big advantage of this technology.


Institution name

University of Ottawa


University of Ottawa, Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Type of institution