Photoelectrode design for solar driven methane to methanol conversion

 Supervisor  Professor Lianzhou Wang and Dr Zhiliang Wang

This project aims to achieve efficient photoelectrocatalytic partial oxidation of greenhouse gas methane for methanol production with high selectivity. The program will design new semiconductor materials through rational defect engineering and co-catalyst selection to revolutionise methane conversion. The expected outcomes include sustainable processes to convert methane into valuable liquid chemicals like methanol, and comprehensive understanding on functional material design for solar driven catalytic reactions. The significant benefits will include revolutionary methane mitigation technologies and sustainable processes for value-added chemical production, alleviating key environmental and energy challenges facing Australia and the world.

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Development of critical materials for high-energy-density, fast-chargeable, and long-endurance lithium-ion batteries

 Supervisor  Professor Lianzhou Wang & Dr Tongen Lin

In recent decades, the demand for powerful, fast-chargeable and long-life lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) as energy storage systems for electric vehicles (EVs) is growing rapidly. By 2035, the lithium-ion battery (LIB) industry is predicted to reach a market value of $600 billion. The effectiveness of LIBs depends on the performance of their constituent materials. The specific capacities and voltage of electrode materials determine the maximum energy storage of a LIB, while their cycling stability limits the charge rate and lifespan. However, the currently commercialised battery materials suffer from insufficient specific capacity, slow lithium-ion intercalation kinetics, and capacity decay during cycling. This project aims to develop new lithium-ion battery materials with superior energy density, high charge rate, and long endurance. Expected outcomes include the creation of cutting-edge battery materials, the production of high-performance LIBs, and the generation of new insights into innovative methods for designing, modifying, and optimising battery materials.

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Solar driven methane conversion for green methanol production

Supervisor  Dr Zhiliang Wang

Short one paragraph abstract: (Max. 150 words) This project aims to develop advanced photoelectrode materials for solar driven methane partial oxidation to produce methanol. The key concepts are to develop new semiconductor devices and alloy metal cocatalysts in solving the slow charge and mass transfer challenges in catalytic methane partial oxidation reactions. The expected outcomes include ground-breaking approaches for catalytic materials design, efficient solar fuel production and cutting-edge knowledge on methane activation mechanism. The program is aligned with Australia’s Net-Zero Emission 2050 target, representing an innovative pathway in converting greenhouse gases into valuable chemicals, which will bring environmental and economic benefits to Australia.

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Device architecture optimization for efficient tin halide perovskite solar cells

 Supervisor  Professor Lianzhou Wang & Dongxu He

While lead halide perovskite solar cells have achieved power conversion efficiencies exceeding 26%, their widespread adoption is curtailed by concerns over lead toxicity. As an environmentally friendly alternative, tin halide perovskite solar cells harness a non-toxic composition and an optimal bandgap suited for solar spectral harvesting. Despite these advantages, tin halide perovskites significantly lag in efficiency compared to their lead-based counterparts. This discrepancy largely stems from suboptimal device architectures that hinder effective charge transfer and exacerbate interfacial recombination during operation. This project seeks to revolutionize the design of tin halide perovskite solar cells by optimizing their device architecture to enhance charge transfer efficiency between layers, thereby boosting overall power conversion performance

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Integrated solar to chemical production and membrane concentration system

 Supervisor  Professor Lianzhou Wang and Dr Zhiliang Wang

The efficient conversion of low-cost raw materials to high-value chemicals using solar energy has been a long sought-after goal. This project aims to create an integrated photoreactor and membrane separation system for efficient photocatalytic water splitting. The integrated system will efficiently produce hydrogen and ultrapure hydrogen peroxide, a critical and costly reagent used in the semiconductor and solar panel manufacturing industries. The integrated system addresses current challenges in the production of high-quality hydrogen peroxide and demonstrates a practical solar-to-chemical process with economic benefits. It also advances knowledge in the fields of nanomaterials engineering, photocatalytic devices, and membrane technology.

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Surface ligand management of perovskite quantum dots for high-efficiency and stable large-area solar cells

 Supervisor Professor Lianzhou Wang and Dr Shanshan Ding

Metal halide perovskite quantum dots (PQDs) possess unique crystal structures, offering exceptional optoelectronic properties such as high absorption coefficients, long carrier diffusion lengths, and high defect tolerance. The high surface strains and exceptional crystal quality deliver PQDs better stability than their polycrystalline bulk counterparts, making them promising for photovoltaic applications. Notably, their decoupled crystallization and film formation process facilitates the fabrication of large-area photovoltaic devices and lightweight wearable electronics. However, achieving uniform PQD layer coverage over large areas is challenging, resulting in thickness and composition variations across the device. This project aims to address this issue by regulating PQD surfaces using multifunctional capping ligands to facilitate efficient charge transfer within solar cell devices. This engineering strategy seeks to minimize interfacial charge transfer losses and enhance the power conversion efficiency of large-area PQD solar cells for practical applications.

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