Donald W. Kirk

Donald KirkProfessor
B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., Ph.D., P.Eng.
Room: WB246 | Tel: 416-978-7406 | Email:


Excellence in Research Faculty Award, Ont. Min. Environment


Professional Engineers of Ontario
Electrochemical Society (ECS)
National Association of Corrosion Engineers
International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE)

Research Interests

Electrochemical and Environmental Engineering

Resource Utilization: There is increasing economic and public pressure on industries to adopt sustainable practices including the use of renewable energy. Electrochemical technologies are an important strategy for achieving sustainability. The direct use of green electricity to produce chemicals and the indirect use to produce fuels from water and CO2 have revitalized research into fuel cells, batteries, electrolysis, supercapacitors and electrolysers. These technologies can reduce or eliminate chemical usage and the amount of waste being generated. Current research is focused on supercapacitors and developing more efficient electrocatalysts for water splitting in alkaline membrane cells.

A second research focus is in developing sustainable carbon sequestration technologies. There are many waste streams with high organic content that cannot be reprocessed due to the complex content of the material. Although incineration is a robust technology which can handle some of these complex waste streams, there is little economic benefit and a significant CO2 footprint. Therefore, my focus has been on carbonization of waste materials which provides a long term sequestration potential and a material that has numerous environmental uses including land and water remediation. One company that has been spun off from this research is CharTechnologies with a pilot plant in London Ontario. Conversion of plastic wastes and sewage sludges are the next target for char products. The research conducted is practically oriented, multidisciplinary and combines engineering with fundamental science.

My research also extends into solving process problems for the resource industry.

Selected Patent/Publications

A. Y. Faid, L. Xie, A. Barnett, F. Seland, D. W. Kirk and S. Sunde, “Effect of anion exchange ionomer content on electrode performance in AEM water electrolysis,” Int. J. of Hydrogen Energy, 2020. 45(53), pp. 28272-28284 IF 4.939

Xie, L., Kirk, D.W. “ Nickel catalyst migration in an anion exchange membrane fuel cell” 2020 Electrochimica Acta 364,137091 (11 pages)IF 6.216

Esmaeili, A., Kirk, D.W. Water removal in the alkaline electrochemical valorization of glycerol by pervaporation 2020 Separation and Purification Technology 248,116943 IF 5.774

CQJia, T.Li ,D.W.Kirk Monolithic Wood Biochar as Functional Material for Sustainability The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering Volume99, Issue3 March 2021 Pages 640-656 IF 1.687

Cole, K.M., Kirk, D.W. and Thorpe, S.J., “Co(OH)2 Powder Characterized by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS)”, Surf. Sci. Spectra 27 [2] Pp. 024013 Impact Factor: 0.640

Cole, K.M., Kirk, D.W. and Thorpe, S.J., “Y(OH)3 Powder Characterized by XPS”, Surf. Sci. Spectra (vol. 27), no. 2. Pp. 024007, Impact Factor: 0.640
Cole, K.M., Kirk, D.W. and Thorpe, S.J., “Co3O4 Nanoparticles Characterized by XPS and UPS”, Surf. Sci. Spectra, 2021, 28 (1), 014001. Impact Factor: 0.640

Cole, K.M., Prabhudev, S, Botton, G.A., Kirk, D.W. and Thorpe, S.J., “Amorphous Ni-Based Nanoparticles for Alkaline Oxygen Evolution”, ACS Applied Nano Materials (vol. 3), no. 10. Pp. 10522-10530 2020

Iwanek, E.M., Liotta, L.F., Williams, S., (…), Kirk, D.W., Gliński, M. Application of potassium ion deposition in determining the impact of support reducibility on catalytic activity of au/ceria-zirconia catalysts in co oxidation, no oxidation, and c3h8 combustion 2020 Catalysts 10(6),688, pp. 1-13 IF 7.723

Philip C. W. Cheung *, Daryl R. Williams, Jack Barrett, James Barker, Donald W. Kirk On the Origins of some Spectroscopic Properties of “Purple Iron” (the Tetraoxoferrate(VI) ion) and its Pourbaix safe-space Journal: Molecules IF 3.309 accepted Aug 2021

Patents in Progress

Kirk D.W, and Hoe H.H. “Electrochemical Carbon Dioxide Utilization” US provisional Patent App # 62/374,124 (P1907)

Kirk D.W, Thorpe S.J.,Cole K.M and Ghobrial S.
“Two-stage ball milling process for the production of single phase amorphous and nanocrystalline nanoparticles from 2 or more immiscible intermetallic alloys.” 2021