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Energy, environmental and sustainable chemistry

Two of the defining challenges of this century that Chemistry can tackle are:

  • the need for secure energy supplies
  • limiting society's reliance on non-sustainable fossil-fuel derived feedstocks.

Central to these challenges is:

  • the development of renewable energy-generation and storage technologies
  • the development of sustainable methods, that improve existing processes and make use of renewable resources.

Energy, environmental and sustainable chemistry research draws upon our expertise in core techniques such as electrochemistry, new materials, spectroscopy, structure, catalysis, computation and gas separation to tackle these challenges.

Research in this theme addresses current critical global challenges relating to climate change, sustainability and environment. The group investigates new materials for energy applications, developing novel processes for the production of sustainable materials, recovery of resources and the fate of natural and pollutant chemical species in the environment. EaStCHEM’s aims in this theme range from understanding fundamental processes through to translation for industrial applications and development of devices.

EaStChem has a strong track record in terms of developing materials for energy applications in the fields of batteries, fuel cells, heat batteries and photovoltaics. The group has a well-developed approach in sustainability with topics ranging from sustainable processes for metal extraction and resource recovery (circular economy) to the development of sustainable materials through novel catalytic processes using earth abundant metals. Under environmental research, the group has a strong track record in gas separation, carbon capture and understanding the fate of pollutants in the environment. This research theme crosses with both the catalysis and synthesis and functional materials themes.

Particular research strengths in energy, environmental and sustainable chemistry are in the areas of:

  • solar energy
    • new materials for emerging photovoltaic technologies
  • materials for energy storage
    • phase-change materials for heat storage
    • lithium and sodium ion batteries
    • supercapacitors
  • synthetic fuels
    • separation of gases and utilisation of waste CO2
    • electrolysis
    • green ammonia
    • new materials for efficient hydrogen production
  • critical raw materials
    • sustainable methods to recover resources
    • sustainable materials
  • pollution
    • study of the behaviour and fate of natural and pollutant chemical species in the environment.