Making sustainable energy sources better
Climate change is driving the need for sustainable alternative energy schemes to replace current oil- and gas-based models.
As Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Organomain Group Materials, Dr. Thomas Baumgartner’s approach toward sustainable energy technologies involves the development of innovative and tailor-made materials from the bottom up. Baumgartner’s research group uses hydrocarbon-based building blocks, and chemically blends them with phosphorus atoms to generate lightweight, plastic-like electronic materials with unique properties. Using this “molecular Lego” approach allows them to purposefully design next-generation materials with dedicated functions.
These functional materials will enable applications in critical energy and environmental technologies. For instance, these materials can reduce the energy needed in low-power organic light-emitting diodes for general lighting applications, and open new pathways for sustainable energy sources by converting solar energy to electricity.
Baumgartner’s research team will also investigate other materials to store energy obtained either through solar power conversion, or by using traditional hydrocarbon fuels. The goal is to develop innovative battery components that are capable of storing charges in an inexpensive, nontoxic and lightweight fashion for both stationary and mobile use.
The team’s findings in the sphere of sustainable energy will help place Canada at the forefront in the global drive to develop next-generation technologies for a clean future for our planet.