Curtis Berlinguette

Canada Research Chair in Solar Energy Conversion

Tier 2 - 2014-04-01
The University of British Columbia
Natural Sciences and Engineering


Research involves

Studying how sunlight is converted into electricity and fuels.

Research relevance

This research will help in the development of a cleaner energy infrastructure.

Fuelling Our Future With Clean Energy

Over the next 30 years, global demand for energy is expected to more than double—yet at the same time, atmospheric CO2 emissions will need to be significantly reduced. To address this challenge, renewable energy production will need to expand a thousandfold.

The sun delivers more power to the Earth in an hour than the world uses in an entire year, so solar power is believed to be essential to future clean energy infrastructure. To make use of the sun’s energy, we need to develop novel materials that can efficiently convert sunlight into useable forms of energy on a large scale.

As Canada Research Chair in Solar Energy Conversion, Dr. Curtis Berlinguette is designing new nanoscale materials that can turn sunlight into electricity, or even into clean fuels, such as hydrogen.

Solar cells are currently too expensive and unreliable for widespread use, so Berlinguette and his research team are developing stable components for next-generation solar panels. But converting light into electricity is only half the battle. A storage solution is also needed to better match energy production to energy consumption.  

Inspired by the fact that a plant leaf can capture sunlight through photosynthesis and store the energy in chemical bonds, Berlinguette and his research team are developing catalysts to convert sunlight directly into hydrogen fuels.

This research will help ensure a reliable supply of electricity for the future, and help Canada remain a major player in the energy sector for decades to come.