Introduction to the Center of Excellence
The Nanotec-KMUTT center of excellence on hybrid nanomaterials for alternative energy (HyNAE) has been established in August 2012 with the matching funding supportted by the national nanotechnology center (Nanotec) and the King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT). The main objective for establishing the CoE was to promote strong research and development work in the fields of nano(hybrid)materials for energy related and environmental applications. It was also aimed at encouraging more research collaborations between researchers from the CoE and those from Nanotec and other institutes.
Figure 1 MOU signing ceremony between Nanotec and the 9 center of excellences, including the representatives from HyNAE
Research focus of HyNAE include the following three main areas; i.e., (see Fig.2)
* The synthesis and developments of electronic and semiconducting materials for the new generation solar cells such as OPV, DSSC and perovskite
* The developments of photoactive materials, particularly modified TiO2 and mixed metal oxides, for pollution abatement.
* The developments of chromic materials for smart glass and energy efficiency in building.
Figure 2 Research focus at HyNAE
Our current members include 9 Ph.D academics/ lecturers, 4 full-time researchers (include 1 Ph.D), and 11 post graduate students (including 5 PhD candidates). We also work closely with our colleagues from Mahanakorn University of Technology and Burapha University (see Fig.3).
Figure 3 HyNAE members
HyNAE R&D roadmap is illustrated in Figure 4. Our research program began in August 2012, with the emphasized fundamental basic science research projects which are related to the synthesis and modification of nanomaterials. Particularly, those based on metal oxides, photoactive active materials, conducting polymers, and nanocomposites, to be used as key elements for the development of some prototypes and products such as dye sensitized solar cell, organic solar cell, hybrid solar cell, chromic films and glasses, and coating for pollution abatement. So far (as of December 2015), more than 16 papers have been published in international journals with impact factors and 4 patents have been filed.
Figure 4 HyNAE’s research and development roadmap.
Our key competencies in these areas include the strong background and experience in chemistry, chemical engineering and materials technology. These capabilities enable us to develop various forms of encapsulation materials for enhancing durability and lifetime of different types of new generation solar cells, including flexible perovskite solar cell. It was expected that, by the end of this roadmap program, solar cell prototypes with a compromised performance and durability or service life of longer than 3 months should be demonstrated.