Innovative Materials for Sustainable Environment

Innovative Materials for Sustainable Environment

.           A sustainable development of bioresources not only involves the aspect of direct utilization, but must also incorporate the remediation of environment to ensure high quality and abundance of bioresources. The importance of the sustainability of bioresources in BioMeta is highlighted in the research area on new materials for clean energy storage and utilization. The focus on clean energy can both safeguard potential overuse of natural resources and alleviate pollution and climate change that, if allowed to go unamended, could easily undo any progress made on bioresources. The research focuses of BioMeta on the issue include (1) hydrogen energy storage and production and (2) electrical energy storage.

.           As a clean energy carrier, hydrogen can be produced from various sources, such as water, fossil fuels (which serve in a conventional H2 production), and biomass. Due to high cost, the electrolysis of water (or water splitting process) is much less common for hydrogen production, indicating that it is too expensive to generate hydrogen using current technologies. One of our projects spearheaded by a Taiwan team aims to engineer new polymer materials to serve as catalysts that would make water splitting a closer reality. The hydrogen storage based on reversible hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions of small molecules is another project that would put forward a new concept of hydrogen storage.

.           Since all renewable energy sources are inherently intermittent in nature, electrical energy storage becomes an important prerequisite for realistic application of clean energy technology. The electrical energy storage systems, including supercapacitors and batteries, ensure a continuous supply of electricity despite the on-off characteristic of the energy conversion. One of our projects aims to develop new materials, some of which are carbon-based, that address performance issues and may contribute to the recycling of agricultural waste in the country.

.           The outline of research direction of BioMeta on materials development is given below.

Note: MU = Mahidol University, NTHU = National Tsing Hua University, UBU = Ubol Ratchathani University, CMU = Chiang Mai University, SLRI = Synchrotron Light Research Institute Public Organization, AS = Academia Sinica