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February 20, 2019
January 3, 2019
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March 8-10, 2019
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Prof. Tsukasa Yoshida, Yamagata University, Japan
Speech Title: Electrochemical materials and systems towards realization of 100% renewable energy society
Abstract: For realization of truly sustainable happiness of all mankind, it is necessary to live our life powered 100% by renewable energy. Global climate change is not just about having slightly warmer weather. The most seriously worried consequence is its damage to agriculture, as the food shortage can result in war.
Many researchers including myself spent a lot of efforts for alternative, mainly organic, photovoltaic (PV) technologies over the last few decades, because nobody thought that Si based PV could become so cheap. Today, PV is the most economical method of electricity production, achieving less than 2 cents / kWh. However, because of its intermittency of generation, so much of PV electricity is wasted and it is already making difficult to integrate more of such highly fluctuating power plants into the existing grid. Same thing can be said for renewable electric power generators else than PVs, such as wind power.
We must welcome the rapid progress of renewable energy technologies and face it, rather than repeating the same old story to justify what we do for research. Aside from power management technologies by Smart Grids, hardware solutions to store gigantic electricity surplus on sunny days and use it later on days with bad weather are now urgently needed. In fact, new PV technologies else than the established Si are even not needed any more. If the cheap Si PV electricity can be stored in a large scale and at a low cost, that electricity can also be used for production of new Si panels. Traditional batteries such as Pb-acid or Li-ion are not suited for this purpose, as they consume too much materials and are short-lived. Redox flow batteries (RFBs) and even more advanced ideas of Solar Fuels (conversion of solar electricity into storable chemical fuels) will be ideally suited.
Having witnessed all these fast changes over the last years, our group in YU has almost stopped working on organic (typically dye-sensitized) solar cells but shifted to the storage technologies. Just like so it was in dye-sensitized solar cell research, electrode nanomaterials for redox and catalysis are important. Solution chemistry and electrodeposition are used as means to synthesize new materials. Although no great results have been obtained yet, some interesting new materials, methodologies with promising implications began to show. In this talk, the past, present and future of our efforts for realization of 100% renewable energy society will be presented and discussed.
Prof. Zhenyi Du, Taiyuan University of Technology, China
Speech Title: Catalytic conversion of biomass gasification tar over char-based catalysts
Abstract: In this presentation, some of our recent work on tar conversion over char based catalysts will be introduced. A series of biochar supported Ni catalysts (Ni/BC) were explored for steam reforming of toluene, with an emphasis on the effects of Ni particle size on the product distribution and catalytic stability. Metallic Ni nanoparticles were formed upon pyrolysis treatment of impregnated biomass via carbothermal reduction. The influence of preparation parameters (Ni loading amount and pyrolysis temperature) on the Ni particle size was examined. Ni/BC pyrolyzed at 600 oC with a Ni loading of 5% (5Ni-600/BC) displayed higher specific surface areas and higher metal dispersion (i.e. lower particle size) than other catalysts. In addition, 5Ni-600/BC showed superior catalytic performance in terms of initial activity (TOF) and stability over other Ni/BC catalysts, indicating the positive role of small particles with more corner and edge sites. Two conventional metal oxides supported Ni catalysts (Ni/ZrO2 and Ni/γ-Al2O3) were selected for comparison with 5Ni-600/BC in long-term stability tests. Although characterization of the spent catalysts revealed that 5Ni-600/BC experienced severe coke deposition and metal sintering, it performed more stable than the reference catalysts, which can be attributed to its significantly larger specific surface area available for coke tolerance. 5Ni-600/BC was further examined for its performance in steam reforming of real biomass tar. Compared with BC alone, Ni/BC not only reduced the overall amount of tar, but also cracked some large molecules into smaller ones.
Prof. Khalique Ahmed, Lynn University, USA
Speech Title: Renewable Energy and Climate Change
Abstract: The degradation of the environment is an alarming concern for the majority of the world citizens. The carbon dioxide emissions in the environment due to human activities have already crossed the transition point that can potentially have adverse effects on the environment. Considering the situation, there is an urgent need to explore the renewable energy sources for mitigation of the climate change. There is plentiful of renewable energy present in nature that can be harnessed with proper innovations in the science and technology. The examples of these include solar energy, wind energy, hydro energy and biofuels. In my presentation, I plan to highlight the physical nature of the energy as the public perception about the energy is somewhat vague. Subsequently, I will present the pros and cons of each type of renewable energy resources and highlight some blended fuels work from our recent research. Lastly, some suggestions will be made to make healthy environment a priority at the gross root level, the examples of which include the embedment of the environmental issues course in the general education core curriculum at the university level, introduction of sustainability plans in diverse institutions, and the support of green businesses.
Prof. Shihe Yang, School of Chemical Biology and Biotechnology, Peking University, China
Speech Title: Nanomaterials and Interfaces for Efficient Solar Energy Conversion
Abstract: Nanostructured materials and interfaces are critical to the functioning of solar energy conversion devices. For photovoltaics, hybrid organic/inorganic halide perovskite solar cells have emerged as among the most competitive photovoltaic technologies of the future thanks to their superb and rapidly improving power conversion efficiencies (PCEs). For realistic deployment of the perovskite photovoltaic technology in large scale, however, device stability has become a more and more important issue of the day. I will update our recent efforts in the material and interface innovations to develop high-efficiency and high-stability perovskite solar cells: (1) the relationship between device stability and ion movement of the perovskite layer; 2) the use of NiO and carbon nanostructures for efficient hole extraction and enhanced device stability; and 3) the development of perovskite and interface engineering techniques for improving both efficiency and stability. Implications of these results on the future development of perovskite solar cells will be discussed.
For electrocatalysts needed for generating solar fuels, I will focuse on two-dimensional (2D) materials. In particular, molybdenum sulfide (MoS2) is an attractive noble-metal-free electrocatalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). We have recently demonstrated significantly enhanced HER kinetics by controllably fabricating a stepped MoS2 surface structure. Vertical arrays of MoS2 sheets terminated with such a stepped surface structure have proved to be an outstanding HER electrocatalyst with overpotential of 104 mV at 10 mA/cm2, exchange current density of 0.2 mA/cm2 and high stability. Experimental and theoretical results indicate that the enhanced electrocatalytic activity of the vertical MoS2 arrays is associated with the unique vertically terminated, highly exposed, stepped surface structure with a nearly thermoneutral H-adsorption energy.
The HER electrocatalyst we engineered above, albeit based on the earth-abundant 2D MoS2, is only active in acidic media, and the HER reaction kinetically retarded in alkaline media. Thus, improving the sluggish kinetics for HER in alkaline media is crucial for advancing the performance of water-alkali electrolyzers. Toward this end, we have demonstrated a dramatic enhancement of HER kinetics in base by judiciously hybridizing vertical MoS2 sheets with another earth-abundant material, layered double hydroxide (LDH). The resultant MoS2/NiCo-LDH hybrid exhibits an extremely low HER overpotential of 78 mV at 10 mA/cm2 and a low Tafel slope of 76.6 mV/dec in 1 M KOH solution. At the current density of 20 mA/cm2 or even higher, the MoS2/NiCo-LDH composite can operate without degradation for 48 hr. This work not only brought forth a cost-effective and robust electrocatalyst, but more generally opened up new vistas for developing high-performance electrocatalysts in unfavorable media recalcitrant to conventional catalyst design.
Prof. Keyou Yan, School of Environment and Energy, South China University of Technology, China
Speech Title: New-Generation Photovoltaic Technology Based on Hybrid and Nano Materials
Abstract: The next generation of solar cell seeks to enhance both efficiency and cost-effectiveness through the use of new materials and simple processes. Solution-processed and printable technologies, using semiconductor nanocrystals, organic molecules and hybrid materials, offer an attractive route towards achieving these grand goals. These technologies need to well understand the basic chemistry, surface and interface. This presentation is focused on the development of dye/quantum dot sensitized solar cell and perovskite solar cell using nanostructured materials and hybrid material. Colloidal quantum structure and plasmonic nanostructures et al are employed for multicolored, multifunctional, and next-generation photovoltaic devices that go beyond the traditional material and solar cells. The solution chemistry and interface engineering will be in detail investigated to reduce the efficiency-cost-stability gap towards commercialization.
Prof. Yongcai Qiu, School of Environment and Energy, South China University of Technology, China
Speech Title: Coming soon......
Abstract: Coming soon......