The Programme grant will establish an effective partnership to attain the following outcomes:
-Successful collaborative research program, closely linking computation to experiment and producing peer-reviewed publications and conference talks.
-Doctoral training of critical human resource with scientific research skills in the synthesis, simulation and characterisation of materials for renewable energy applications.
-Well-equipped research environment in African partner institutions for the successful development/application of research tools, and to act as foci for researchers in sub-Sahara Africa.
-Best practice by the African laboratories to educate research students to internationally recognised standards of scientific excellence.
-Enhanced ability by African partners to attract funding for research and collaboration
-African partner laboratories as Centres of Excellence for training and research to help minimise the brain-drain of first class students from sub-Sahara Africa and provide the next generation of scientists for Universities, Research Centres or Industry.
Benefits of Research to Society
This project will lead to new knowledge in the form of improved synthetic methods, new (photo)electrochemical procedures and enhanced computational techniques that will be of clear interest to academics in these fields. In addition, new materials will be developed to improve the performance of low-cost solar cells and efficiently catalyse biomass conversion to fuels or chemicals. This project will therefore clearly have Economic and Societal impact on the (i) commercial sector, (ii) general public, and (iii) government/public sector.
(i) Catalysis is the lynchpin of a large number of industrial processes, which are instrumental in maintaining global wealth and health, as well as playing a key role in developing processes that are both environmentally and economically sustainable, whereas organic solar cell materials with higher conversion efficiencies and greater stability will be immediately applicable in a range of solar energy applications. Finally, the new and improved experimental and computational techniques developed to carry out the research will enhance the knowledge base of chemical and energy industries;
(ii) Sustainable energy and climate change are areas of global societal concern. Everyone, whether living in highly industrialised countries or in the developing world, is affected by climate change and rising costs of energy and commodities. A robust and sustainable route to low-carbon fuels and chemicals will ensure stable and predictable energy prices without further risks associated with global warming and environmental damage. Synthetic fuels have a further advantage in
that they do not require extensive changes to existing infrastructure
(iii) With ever more stringent legislation put in place to guarantee a cascade of international agreements to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gases to acceptable levels, viable routes to carbon-neutral chemicals or solar fuels are clearly of prime importance to policy makers and legislators.