Brouwer received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993. From 1993 to 1997, he served as a research assistant professor at the University of Utah and was a member of the technical staff at Reaction Engineering International. He came to UC Irvine in 1997 as associate director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC), concurrently holding appointments as lecturer, assistant and then associate adjunct professor. He was named assistant professor in the summer of 2011.
His primary research focus since joining UC Irvine has been high-temperature electrochemical dynamics and integrated energy systems research that includes fuel cells, gas turbines,electrolyzers, and solar and wind power. Brouwer is a highly recognized researcher in the area of alternative energy and is expected to make strong contributions to UCI's stature in the field of energy and the environment and to make leading research and teaching contributions to MAE and to the Environment Institute.