The next department seminar on April 4th will be featuring Asst. Prof. Dr. Engin Durgun who is going to give a talk titled “Toward Solar-Thermal Energy Storage : New Molecular Systems“. All department members and students are cordially invited to attend.
Abstract : Efficient utilization of the sun as a renewable and clean energy source is one of the greatest goals and challenges of this century due to the increasing demand for energy and its environmental impact. Numerous strategies exist to convert sunlight into useful forms of energy, including photocatalytic processes, artificial photosynthesis, photothermal power plants, and photovoltaic applications. An alternative strategy to these is using solar thermal-fuels which can convert and store the sun’s energy directly in the chemical bonds of metastable photoisomers of suitable molecular systems by photconversion. The stored energy can then be released as heat on demand by an external trigger. Ideally both the photisomerization and heat release reactions reversibly occur in a closed-cycle without changing the chemical composition. The clear advantage of such an approach is that the same material both converts and stores the sun’s energy, providing a rechargeable fuel that can be safely transported and used ondemand; the materials used could, in principle, be cheap, nontoxic and abundant, and the cycle can be repeated thousands of times without any emission or waste. Many conventional photoswichable molecules could be considered as solar thermal fuels, although they suffer from low energy density or short lifetime in the photoinduced high-energy metastable state, rendering their practical use unfeasible. We present new approaches to the design of chemistries for solar thermal fuel applications, wherein well-known photoswitchable molecules are connected by different linker agents to form molecular rings/chains or combined with nanoscale templates. This approach allows for a significant increase in both the amount of stored energy per molecule and the stability of the fuels. Our results suggest a range of possibilities for tuning the energy density and thermal stability as a function of the type of the photoswitchable molecule, size, type of linkers, or template.
About Engin Durgun : Engin Durgun was born on May 15, 1979 in Ankara. He got his B.S (2001), M.S (2003), PhD (2007) degrees from Department of Physics, Bilkent University. After graduation he moved University of Liege (Belgium) for post-doctoral studies, and then worked at Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for three years as a post-doctoral associate. He returned to Turkey on November 2012 and joined UNAM – Institute of Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Bilkent University as a faculty member. He is the vice director of UNAM since August 2015. Dr. Durgun is working in the multidisciplinary field of computational science, which intersects physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering. He applies advanced computational simulation methods to address critical challenges in various areas including nanotechnology’ clean and sustainable energy and environment. He works in collaboration with both experimental and theory colleagues and also conducts joint projects both in Europe and USA.