April 26, 2012, by Fraser

£5m funding for research to enable fossil fuel replacements

The ChemEnSus project is a five year £5mil Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded programme aiming to apply coordination chemistry to the generation of new multi-functional porous materials to provide innovative solutions for key issues around environmental and chemical sustainability.

The project will develop new materials that have applications in hydrogen and gas storage, sieving and purification, carbon capture, chemical reactivity and sensing. One of the key targets is to achieve high capacity hydrogen storage at ambient temperatures, thereby overcoming a major technological barrier that will allow hydrogen to realise its potential as a viable, clean replacement for fossil fuels.

 Multi-disciplinary collaboration

The programme is being delivered by a multi-disciplinary collaboration of six leading research groups including three from the School of Chemistry. The project is being led by Professor Martin Schröder  in collaboration with Professor Neil  Champness and Dr Elena Bichoutskaia (School of Chemistry), Professor Peter Beton (School of Physics),  Professor Mark Thomas (University of Newcastle) and Professor Bill David (ISIS Spallation Neutron Facility).

The project will train a new generation of scientists (ten post-doctoral researchers and 15 PhD students) across a programme of work spanning chemistry, nanoscience, self-assembly and theory, and seeks to strengthen existing and develop new relationships with industrial partners and identify opportunities to exploit the outputs of the research commercially.

Sustainable technologies

Commenting on the award of this prestigious EPSRC programme grant, Professor Martin Schröder said: “This is an exciting opportunity to undertake blue-skies research with collaborators across physical sciences, engineering and industry in the areas of sustainability and energy research.

“Many of the inventions and discoveries required in the fields of energy and sustainability have probably not even been thought of, and to have flexible funding over an extended period is essential to try and test new ideas and new methodologies. Research across the physical sciences will play a key role in developing the new sustainable technologies of the future.”

Professor Schröder’s credentials

Professor Schröder has received a number of prestigious awards for his research from the Royal Society of Chemistry including the Corday-Morgan Medal and Prize, the Tilden Lectureship and Medal, the Award for Chemistry of Transition Metals, and the Award for Chemistry of the Noble Metals and their Compounds. He has previously held a Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship and a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award.

In 2005 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Technical University of Tallinn, Estonia and has held visiting professorships at the University of Toronto, University of Dunedin and Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg. He was Head of the School of Chemistry from 1999-2005, and is currently Dean of the Faculty of Science.

The award of an EPSRC Programme Grant underlines The University of Nottingham’s reputation as a centre of excellence in the areas of energy and sustainability research.

For further information contact Dr Nick Bennett, ChemEnSus Project Manager, School of Chemistry at the University.

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