Graduate Scholarships and Post-doctoral Fellowships Available

The materials chemistry research group encourages top-rank post doctoral fellows, both national and international, to apply for the elite Banting and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships to support their work in our group.

The applications can be found on the Banting and Vanier websites.

We also encourage Marie-Curie and Alexander von Humbolt fellows as well as other top rank international graduate and post-graduate scholars holding research fellowships to apply for positions in our group.

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UofT Solar Fuels Cluster

The U of T Solar Fuels Cluster is an interdisciplinary research team devoted to developing scalable, cost effective materials solutions towards using CO2 as a chemical feedstock for valuable products. Leveraging the expertise of some of Canada’s leading chemists, engineers, and material scientists, we hope to initiate a paradigm-shifting zero-emission CO2 economy.

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Congratulations to Dr. Lu Wang and co-authors on their paper in Angewandte Chemie!

Surface Frustrated Lewis Pairs (SFLPs) have been implicated in the gas‐phase heterogeneous (photo)catalytic hydrogenation of CO₂ via the cubic form of hydroxylated indium oxide. In their paper, Dr. Wang and co-authors report the room temperature dissociation of molecular hydrogen via SFLPs on the rhombodral form of the catalyst, which is shown to favour the heterolysis over the homolysis reaction pathway.
See full article at Angewandte Chemie.

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Is Air Conditioning Cool?

When one thinks of the major sources of anthropogenic emissions entering the earth’s atmophsere, chances are that air conditioning isn’t the first to come to mind. However, the carbon footprint of AC systems is far from negligeable: they are expected to contribute an additional 167 gigatonnes of CO2 by 2050. But what if AC systems could be re-designed to provide an opportunity to capture CO2 from the air? Global adoption of on-site conversion of CO2 from AC systems into chemicals and fuels could have a key role in addressing global climate change.
See full article at Advanced Science News.

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Crowd oil not crude oil

Congratulations to authors Prof. Roland Dittmeyer, Michael Klumpp, Paul Kant, and Prof. Geoffrey Ozin on the release of their Nature Communications article, “Crowd oil not crude oil”. The delocalized nature of climate change poses a major challenge to mitigation efforts. The authors propose retrofitting air conditioning units to convert water and carbon dioxide into fuel. The users would collect the synthetically-made oil for their personal use, or to redistribute within their community, as to encourage decentralized CO2 conversion and energy democratization. Read full article at Nature Communications.

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Advanced Science News: “Spamming Science”

The internet has had profound effects on virtually all aspects of society. It has revolutionized virtually every aspect of our lives, from the ways in which we engage and communicate, to our shopping and entertainment habits, and to our media and politics. But what of the effect of the internet age on academia? As one of the earliest adopters of email communication, academics have witnessed the many ways in which the internet has shifted the nature of scientific collaborations, publishing processes, and research patterns. Have we, however, reached a point where electronic communication has become more problematic than beneficial to academic research?
See full article at Advanced Science News.

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Energy & Environmental Science Cover Page!

Congratulations to authors Mireille Ghoussoub, Meikun Xia, Dr. Paul Duchesne, and Prof. Dvira Segal, as well as cover artist and alumnus, Dr. Chenxi Qian, for having their recently published review article featured on the cover of Energy and Environmental Science. Photothermal catalysis is an emerging sub-discipline of heterogeneous catalysis that exploits broad absorption of the solar spectrum to stimulate a combination of thermochemical and photochemical processes, which contribute synergistically to driving catalytic reactions. It is proving an effective and promising strategy for converting CO2 to synthetic fuels.
See full article at Energy and Environmental Science.

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Putting a Spin on a Carbon Photocatalysis Spin-off

Chemicals and fuels derived from CO2 and enabled by solar power have taken the research world by storm over the past decade. However, CO2-derived fuel technologies, as promising as they may appear, are still subject to the harsh economic realities of chemical engineering. Is it possible to simultaneously achieve high photonic efficiencies all whilst adhering to the logic of economies of scale? Two new start-ups, The Solistra Corporation and Dimensional Energy, have taken on this challenge and are paving the way towards a future driven by solar fuel technology
See full article at Advanced Science News.

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Congratulations to Athan Tountas and Co-authors on your Solar Methanol Advanced Science Paper!

“Towards Solar Methanol: Past, Present, and Future” provides a comprehensive overview of how value-added products, notably methanol, can be produced affordably and sustainably from greenhouse gases. Harnessing light in the form of solar energy can assist is the production process in some capacity through various strategies, such as solar-thermochemical, photochemical, and photovoltaic-electrochemical. Commercially-ready technologies are compared via technoeconomic analysis, and the scalability of solar reactors is also discussed in the context of light-incorporating catalyst architectures and designs. Finally, the review offers perspective on the viability of the most promising solar methanol strategy to be applied at a global scale.
See full article at Advanced Science.

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Catalytic CO2 Reduction by Palladium Decorated Silicon Hydride Nanosheets

Congratulations to Wei, Chenxi, Govind, and Co-Authors on their New Years Eve Nature Catalysis publication in which they report on their discovery of how to make Silicon, the second most abundant element on earth, behave catalytically in the gas-phase heterogeneous hydrogenation of CO2 to CO, known as the Reverse Water Gas Shift Reaction. See full article at Nature Catalysis.

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Congratulations Mireille, Paul, Meikun on your Energy and Environmental Chemistry publication “Principles of Photothermal Gas-Phase Heterogeneous CO2 Catalysis”

Photothermal catalysis is an emerging sub-discipline of heterogeneous catalysis that exploits broad absorption of the solar spectrum to stimulate a combination of thermochemical and photochemical processes, which contribute synergistically to driving catalytic reactions. In particular, it is proving an effective and promising strategy for converting CO2 to synthetic fuels. See full article at Energy & Environmental Science.

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The Agnotology of Carbon Dioxide

In 1995, Robert Proctor of Stanford University coined the term, “Agnotology”, refering to the study of how and why we do not know things as a means of addressing the rapid dissemination of misleading, confusing, frightening and false information. Although early works in this field were focused on the understanding the ignorance around smoking and cancer risk, Agnotogy is highly relevant to the current rhetoric surrounding climate change. The reality is that CO2 emissions due to human activity are contributing to climate change and that to limit the warming from pre-industrial levels to 1.5 °C these emissions must be reduced to zero by 2050. Unfortunately, however, denial or acceptance of global warming often stems from selectivity in the search for evidence and political leaning. See full paper at Advanced Science News.

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