Research Fellows Directory
Dr Abbie Trewin
Energy generation, storage and transport are key challenges for society; arguably, the biggest challenges facing current future generations. For example, materials to underpin new energy generation technologies (e.g., photovoltaics) and storage/transport technologies (e.g., for the “hydrogen economy”) are highly important goals.
Hydrogen, if produced cleanly and economically, is an ideal clean energy source for the future. However, widespread use is limited by the lack of a convenient method of hydrogen storage. Physisorptive storage has the advantage of being reversible, cycle-able, potentially high capacities, and robust materials. Porous organic polymers have potential as physisorptive hydrogen storage media. It would be highly desirable to construct high surface area materials with intermediate binding energies but this goal has remained elusive and requires a fundamental evaluation of potential binding modes and binding motifs.
Increased carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion are a major cause for environmental concern. A potential method of separation of carbon dioxide from gas streams is the use of chemical and physical adsorption on functionalised microporous polymers. A more challenging problem is the capture and subsequent activation of carbon dioxide. Microporous polymers have several advantages; higher surface areas and their synthetic versatility allows for a wide range of diverse functionality which has the potential to enable reactions which may lead to the direct conversion of carbon dioxide into more complex organic molecules (e.g., by artificial photosynthesis).
This research aims to design entirely novel materials for efficient and convenient gas storage and other applications. Close collaboration with synthetic work is central to this proposal. A mixture of predictive and explanatory modelling will be undertaken, working in close collaboration with the Liverpool synthetic team and synthetic materials teams elsewhere.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)