Green Steel: Coupling Steel with Methanol Production

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the steel industry accounts for close to 30% of the direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the industry sector, which corresponds to 7% of the global CO2 emissions (data for 2014). At present, steel mills reduce their carbon footprint mainly through incremental efficiency upgrades designed to cause minimal disruption to its output; however, new research is showing that strategies focused on valorizing and utilizing CO2 may present an economic opportunity with significant environmental benefits. Michael Bender and coworkers at BASF SE, Ludwigshafen in Germany, have recently reported a techno-economic analysis for six different CO2 emission reduction scenarios in steel manufacturing.

The full article can be read on the Advanced Science News website.

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Congratulation, Alex Tavasoli, on being selected as a finalist in the MaRS Women in Cleantech Challenge!

The University of Toronto Solar Fuels Group is proud to announce that Alex Tavasoli has been selected as a finalist in the national Women in Cleachtech competition, hosted by MaRS Discovery District and Natural Resources Canada. Alex’s proposed company, “Solistra”, offers a greenhouse gas (GHG) to fuel technology that converts waste CO2 and methane into syngas using solar energy and novel, nanostructured, light-activated materials.

The Women in Cleantech Challenge seeks to identify top female innovators from across the country who are developing technologies to tackle the world’s most daunting energy and environmental challenges. Of the hundreds of applications received, 10 semi-finalists were invited to deliver their pitch live to a public audience and prestigous jury, amongst which included Margaret Atwood.

The finalists will now participate in an intensive 30-month business accelerator program, with support valued at $800,000, before competing for the $1-million prize to invest in their business.
The full list of finalists can be viewed at:

More information about the technology can be found here and here

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Celebrating 50 Years of Materials Research and Still Searching

The GAO Materials Research group was delighted to host a highly interdisciplinary, intellectually stimulating, and heartfelt symposium on Saturday, August 25th, in honour of Geoffrey Ozin’s 75th birthday.

Friends, family, colleagues, former students, and current group members gathered, from near and far, to celebrate the creative innovations, life-long friendships, and passion for research that Geoff has fostered over his 50-year career. The spirit of the day is best captured by Geoff’s opening words, “Let’s appreciate the moment, let’s relish the memories, let’s rise to the future, and let’s have fun today on a very special birthday of three quarters of a century.”

Thank you especially to speakers, Ludovico Cademartiri, Jennifer Chen, Yadong Yin, Mark Wilson, Hong Yang, Mark MacLachlan, Wendong Wang, Ben Hatton, and Todd Siler, for stimulating our brains and hearts with their kind and inspirational words. Thank you also to organizers Wei, Sue, and Chenxi for their commitment to organizing such a successful event. Finally, thank you to all who attended for making the day truly special.

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Congratulations Prof. Ozin!

Professor Geoffrey Ozin has been awarded a three-month extension of his Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) award to work with Professor Roland Dittmeyer, Director of the Institute for Microprocess Engineering at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe Germany, on the development of high performance photocatalysts and photoreactors for converting greenhouse gas to fuels.
The AvH award is in recognition of a researcher’s entire achievements to date to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.

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Congratulations on Achieving the Golden h = 100!

In recognition of his innovative and technologically relevant contributions over the past 50 years, on July 18th 2018, Professor Geoffrey Ozin has achieved the ISI Golden h-index of 100.

This accomplishment is remarkable as it is something research groups working around the globe rarely achieve. Congratulations to all past and present coworkers of Professor Geoffrey Ozin who helped make this happen.

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Congratulations Hong Wang, Lu Wang and coworkers on you Angewante Chemie paper and cover entitled Ambient Electro-Synthesis of Ammonia – Electrode Porosity and Composition Engineering

Congratulations Hong Wang, Lu Wang, and coworkers on you Angewandte Chemie paper entitled “Ambient Electro-Synthesis of Ammonia – Electrode Porosity and Composition Engineering” in which they report for the first time that hierarchically structured nitrogen-doped nanoporous carbon membranes (NCMs) can electrochemically convert N2 into NH3 at room temperature and atmospheric pressure in an acidic aqueous solution. The Faradaic efficiency and rate of NH3 production using the metal-free NCM electrode in 0.1 M HCl solution are as high as 5.2% and 0.08 g m-2 h-1, respectively. Upon functionalization of the NCM electrode with Au nanoparticles (Au NPs), the efficiency and rate achieve a remarkable 22% and 0.36 g m-2 h-1, respectively. These performance metrics are unprecedented for the electrocatalytic production of NH3 from N2 under ambient conditions.

The full article can be read on the Angewandte Chemie website.

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Plasmon Power – Ambient Synthesis of Ammonia

The synthesis of ammonia by photoelectrochemical N2 reduction, unlike the century old high temperature high pressure Haber-Bosch ammonia process, is not very energy‐intensive and can operate at low or even ambient temperature and pressure. In a Chinese-Canadian collaboration, spearheaded Professor Jinlong Gong and Professor Geoffrey Ozin, the promotional role of surface O vacancies in outer layers of amorphous TiO2 thin films enable the adsorption and activation of N2 to facilitate N2 reduction to NH3 is described for the first time. The paper entitled “Promoted Fixation of Molecular Nitrogen with Surface Oxygen Vacancies on Plasmon‐Enhanced TiO2 Photoelectrodes”.

The full article can be read on the Angewandte Chemie website.

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Congratulations Lu Wang, Meikun Xia, Hong Wang, Kefang Huang, and Chenxi Qian on your Perspective “Greening Ammonia: Toward the Solar Ammonia Refinery”

The full article can be read on Joule’s website.

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Made in Canada – Canadian nano-technology invented in Professor Geoffrey Ozin’s nanochemistry laboratory and commercialized by Opalux, stops counterfeiters in their tracks

Whether preventing passport fraud or currency counterfeiting, smart nano-materials invented at the University of Toronto and commercialized by Toronto-based Opalux, have locked in a new level of security.

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New Materials Discovery: Machine-Enhanced Human Creativity

In this article, published in Chem, a sister journal to Cell, Geoffrey Ozin and Todd Siler, a long time practicing chemist and artist, ask whether machine learning will ever be creative enough to match the innate ingenuity of humans at discovering and synthesizing an entirely new class of materials.

The full article can be read here.

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