This year’s UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award, consisting in $85,000 UQ, was won by Dr Yong Wang, from UQ’s School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering. Dr Wang will dedicate his research to develop powerful photocatalysts that increase the efficiency of hydrogen production.
These catalysts may also be valuable in treating polluted waters by oils spills, chemical spills or other organic substances. The photocatalysts decompose water in hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight. At the moment, the most effective photocatalyst is titanium dioxide, and this is the one the research is going to be based on.
Unlike current methods of generating hydrogen based on conventional titanium dioxide nanoparticles, Dr. Wang’s nanosheets of monolayered titanium dioxide may prove to be more efficient.
“These kinds of nanosheets are a new type of nanomaterials and therefore not much is known about this emerging technology,” he said. “My research will therefore focus on understanding the fundamentals of nanosheets and resolving key issues, so they can then be used for practical applications,” Dr. Wang explained.
Dr Wang joins the global attempt of developing hydrogen-stored energy and reducing pollution by replacing fossil fuels. His research has already started, with Associate Professor Lianzhou Wang and Professor Max Lu’s group at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials and Professor Jin Zou at the UQ School of Mechanical and Mining Engineeringare contributing to this, too.
A special ceremony was held on Wednesday, 22 September, as part of UQ’s annual Research Week, during which Dr. Wang received his award.