David Layzell

David Layzell

Contact information

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-5161


Educational Background

Ph.D. Plant Physiology, University of Western Australia, 1980

M.Sc. Plant Physiology, University of Guelph, 1976

B.Sc. Biology, University of Waterloo, 1975


David Layzell, PhD, FRSC is the Director of the Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) Initiative at the University of Calgary (http://cesarnet.ca). From 2008 to 2012, he was the Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE), a cross-Faculty, graduate research and training institute at the University of Calgary. He began his academic career as a Professor of Biology (cross-appointments in the Schools of Environmental Studies and Public Policy) at Queen’s University (Kingston) where he generated over 100 peer reviewed publications, 7 patents and a technology company (Qubit Systems Inc.) before being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Since 1998, he has been instrumental in building national, multi-disciplinary research networks focused on finding climate change solutions, including BIOCAP Canada, Fluxnet Canada, Green Crop Network, GHG Management Network and Carbon Management Canada. David is also Chair of the Committee on Expert Panels for the Royal Society of Canada.


Areas of Research


Canada’s energy systems* have fueled a very high quality of life, delivering luxuries that would be the envy of virtually all previous generations.  However, these systems have brought with them some unintended consequences, including climate change. Despite the clear need to transform our energy systems to be more sustainable, there is no consensus on the precise goal, pathway or timeline. A primary goal of my research program is to develop the tools and analytical methodologies that will ‘elevate the conversation’ around energy systems choices while informing policy and investment decisions on how best to transform our energy systems for a more sustainable future. This involves:

  • Understanding, quantifying and modeling the past and current energy systems of Canada and its provinces, including the costs, benefits and tradeoffs of energy conversion technologies that define the pathways and greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy flows.
  • Modeling and assessing possible energy futures based on technology, policy and behavioural choices.
  • Developing data visualization tools and technologies to assist in the understanding, validating and communicating of Canada’s past, present and possible future energy systems.

Some, but not all of my research work relates to biological systems.  Current research projects include:

  • Exploring strategies for greening the Alberta electrical grid and oil sands recovery upgrading technologies; 
  • An Eco-mimicry approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands Tailings ponds;
  • Integrating Canada’s agricultural for forest sectors into energy systems models.
  • Modeling the implication of energy efficiency initiatives

* Energy systems are the sum of the technologies and policies that link the energy services that people demand (light, mobility, space heating/cooling etc) to the energy sources that nature provides (sun, fossil fuels, wind, biomass, etc).


  • Distinguished Collaborator Award, Schulich School of Engineering . 2018
  • Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) Distinguished Service Award, 2013
  • Distinguished Service Award, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada. 2019
  • Queen’s University Research Chair, Queen's University at Kingston. 2008
  • Queen's U Research Chair, 2002
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 1998
  • EWR Steacie Memorial Fellowship, 1992
  • E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, N.S.E.R.C., Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. 1994
  • CD Nelson Award for Research Excellence, CSPP, 1990
  • Teaching Award, Biology, Queen's U, 1990
  • Teaching Award, Queen's University. 1990
  • NSERC Univ Research Fellowship, Biology, Queen's U, 1981
  • NSERC Univ. Res. Fellowship, Queen's University at Kingston. 1990
  • NSERC Postgrad. Scholarship, University of Western Australia. 1981
  • NSERC Postgrad Scholarship, Botany, U W Australia, 1977

More Information


  • Google Scholar Link
  • Sobhan Iranmanesh, Thomas Harding, Jalal Abedi F Seyedeyn-Azad and David B Layzell. 2014. Adsorption of naphthenic acids on high surface area activated carbons. J Environ. Sci. Health A. 49 (in press)
  • Benjamin Israel and David B Layzell. 2014. The dawn of a new era for oil in North America: from insecurity in energy supply to insecurity in market access. Paristech Review March 31, 2014. (link to paper)
  • Andrei Veksha, Hugh McLaughlin, David B. Layzell, Josephine M. Hill. 2014 Pyrolysis of wood to biochar: Increasing yield while maintaining microporosity. Bioresource Technology 153 (2014) 173–179 (link to paper)
  • Benjamin Israel and David B Layzell. 2013. From insecurity in oil supply to insecurity in market access: Is North American OPil Supply and Demand entering a new era? In: Logistique et Transport des Vracs  Eds: Yann Alix & Romuald Lacoste Les Collection Oceanides, Foundation Sefacil. Pp 77-100. ISBN: 978-2-84769-568-7. (Link to paper)
  • Hacatoglu K, McLellan PJ and Layzell DB. 2011.  Feasibility Study of a Great Lakes Bioenergy System.  Bioresource Technology 102: 1087-1094.
  • Buckeridge, KM, Cen YP, Layzell, DB, Grogan, P  2010  Soil biogeochemistry during the early spring in low arctic mesic tundra and the impacts of deepened snow and enhanced nitrogen availability.  Biogeochemistry 99: 127-141
  • Hacatoglu K, McLellan PJ and Layzell DB. 2010  Production of biosynthetic natural gas in Canada Environmental Science and Technology 44 : 2183-2188.
  • Kirkegaard, J, Christen O, Krupinsky J, Layzell DB  2008  Break Crop benefits in temperate wheat production.  Field Crops Research 107: 185-195 
  • Maimaiti J, Zhang Y, Yang J, Cen Y-P, Layzell DB, Peoples M and Dong Z. 2007 Isolation and Characterization of Hydrogen-Oxidizing Bacteria induced following exposure of soil to Hydrogen Gas and their imipact on plant growth.  Environmental Microbiology 9(2): 435-444.
  • Layzell, DB 2006.  Global Change and Opportunities:  Biosphere Solutions to climate change, energy and the economy.  In Fenech, AD, D MacIver, H Auld and T Brydges (eds)  The Americas:  Building the Adaptive Capacity to Global Environmental Change.  Environment Canada  Toronto, Ontario, Canada 
  • Wei H and Layzell, DB. 2006  Adenylate-coupled ion movement:  a mechanism for the control of nodule permeability to O2 diffusion. Plant Physiology 141: 280-287.
  • Layzell, DB and Stephen, J.  2006. Linking Biomass Energy to Biosphere Greenhouse Gas Management.  In (J.S. Bhatti, R. Lal, M.J. Apps and M.A. Price, eds) Climate Change and Managed Ecosystems.  CRC Press, Pp. 217-232.  CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL
  • Layzell, DB, Stephen, J and Wood, SM  2006.  Exploring the potential for biomass power in Ontario:  A response to the OPA Supply Mix Advice Report.  27 pages Available at: http://www.biocap.ca/.
  • Woods, SM and Layzell DB.  2003.  A Biomass Inventory:  Feedstocks for a bio-based economy.  Prepared under contract with Industry Canada (#5006125). 42 pages. Available at http://www.biocap.ca/.
    Layzell, D.B. 2001. Canada's Green Advantage for a Bio-based future.  Prepared under contract from Industry Canada for a "Vision 2020 BioProducts Leaders Workshop", 7-8 February 2001, Ottawa.
  • Holbein, BE and Layzell, DB.  Anaerobic Digestion:  Cornerstone and Workhorse of a Sustainable Bioenergy Technology Cluster.  Proceedings of International Conference on Anaerobic Digestion, 2004.  6 pp. Montreal, Aug. 29-Sept 2, 2004. http://www.ad2004montreal.org/ 
    Cen, Y-P, DB Layzell. 2004 Does Oxygen limit nitrogenase activity in soybean exposed to elevated CO2? Plant Cell Environment 27:1229-38 
  • Dong, Z, Wu, L, Kettlewell, B, Caldwell, CD and Layzell, DB 2003.  Hydrogen fertilization of soils – is this a benefit of legumes in rotation?  Plant Cell and Environment 26: 1875-79.
  • Dong, Z., Layzell, D.B. 2001 H2 oxidation, O2 uptake and CO2 fixation in H2 treated soils.  Plant and Soil. 229: 1-12
  • Thumfort, P.P., Layzell, D.B., Atkins, C.A. 2000. A Simplified Approach for Modeling Diffusion Into Cells. J. Theoretical Biology 204(1): 47-65.
  • Willms JR, Dowling AN, Dong ZM, Hunt S, Shelp BJ, Layzell DB. 1997. The simultaneous measurement of low rates of CO2 & O2 exchange in biological systems. Anal. Biochem. 254: 272-282. 
    Dennis, DT, Turpin, DH, Lefebvre, D, and Layzell, DB eds, 1997.  Plant Metabolism, 2nd Edition.  Addison Wesley Longman, Ltd  631 Pgs.
  • Hunt, S and DB Layzell. 1993. Gas exchange of legume nodules and the regulation of nitrogenase activity. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology. 44: 483-512.


  • Layzell, DB, Z Dong and L Wu.  2007 (Jan 16) Methods for enhancing plant growth using hydrogen gas. US Patent 7,162,834 filed 31 Jan 2005.
  • Layzell, DB, Z Dong and L Wu.  2005 (Feb 1) Methods for enhancing plant growth using hydrogen gas. US Patent 6,848,212 filed 30 July 1999.  
  • Layzell, D.B., S. Hunt, AN Dowling and RA Young.  2001 (April 24).  Differential Gas Analyzer. U.S. Patent 6,220,076 filed 6 May 1999. 
  • Layzell, D.B., Hunt, S., Dowling, A.N., Winship, L.J., Dong, Z.  1999 (Oct 12). Apparatus for rapid measurement of hydrogen concentration and its use in the measurement of nitrogenase activity.  US patent 5,965,801. filed July 5, 1996
  • Layzell, D.B.,  Hunt, S.  Dowling, AN.  1996 (Aug. 6).  Method and instrument for measuring differential oxygen concentration between two flowing gas streams.  US Patent 5,542,284 filed Oct. 18, 1994.
  • Layzell, D.B., Hunt, S, Dowling, AN  1994 (Aug. 12).  Electrolytic apparatus for generating selected concentrations of gas in a flowing gas stream.  US Patent 5,302,268  filed March 4, 1993
  • Layzell, D.B., Hunt, S., Palmer, G and Denison, RF  1992 (March 17).  Method and Apparatus for measuring oxygen concentration and its subsequent use in estimating nitrogen fixation in plants.  US Patent 5,096,294  filed March 19, 1991.