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Research Progress of Solar Energy Conversion in my group: from Fundamental understanding to New materials development

Dr. Junwang Tang

Reader in Energy /准教授 , Fellow of RSC

Department of Chemical Engineering, University College London, UK, junwang.tang@ucl.ac.uk

Solar energy is the most abundant and renewable energy among all available renewable energy sources, thus has the potential to meet a significant fraction, if not all, of the increasing global energy demands. Among the approaches of solar energy conversion and storage, water splitting to renewable hydrogen by sunlight and CO2 conversion to fuels have attracted increasing attention over the last ten years after a period of limited activity. Solar irradiance is diffuse and intermittent, thus solar energy utilisation requires economically viable conversion technologies to be both efficient and low cost. 

Currently to achieve an efficient photocatalyst for solar to hydrogen synthesis remains a big challenge, involving Material Science, Chemistry, Engineering and Physics. Recently we illustrated the key factors dominating solar energy conversion efficiency in the solar driven water splitting.1 Stimulated by these outcomes, we further developed novel material strategies for solar driven fuels synthesis. In this lecture, I will present the recent results obtained in my group including the facets controlled Ag3PO4 which shows the highest activity for water photooxidation under visible light,2 highly polymerised C3N4 which demonstrates an extremely high hydrogen production rate, resulting into a record 26% quantum efficiency,3 selective CO2 conversion,4,5 efficient water treatment6 and nanobiomaterial synthesis7. Finally, I will introduce how to apply for a research student post in the top UK universities.


1.   Tang, J., Durrant, J. R., & Klug, D. R, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2008, 130(42), 13885-13891.

2.      Martin, D., Umezawa, N., Chen, X., Ye, J., & Tang, J. Energy and Environmental Science. 2013, 6 (11), 3380 – 3386

3.    Martin, D.J., Qiu, K., Shevlin, S. A,  Handoko, A.D., Chen, X., Guo, Z,. Tang, J.  , Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 2014, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201403375R1

4.    Li, K., Handoko, A.D.,  Khraisheh, M., Tang, J., Nanoscale, 2014,  DOI: 10.1039/C4NR01490A

5.    An, X.,  Li, K., Tang, J.  ChemSusChem,  2014, Issue 4,  1086-1093

6.    An, X., Yu, J. C., & Tang, J. J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014, 2, 1000-1005

7.    Reardon, P. J. T., Huang, J., & Tang, J.. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2013, 2(5), 682-686.


Short Biography:

Dr. Junwang Tang is a Reader /准教授 in Energy in the Department and Honorary Lecturer in Chemistry at Imperial College London. He received his PhD in Physical Chemistry in 2001. After that, he took a JSPS fellow in Japan and senior researcher in Imperial College London. In 2009, he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering, University College London.

He currently leads a research team of 14 members with financial support from UK EPSRC, Leverhulme, Royal Society, RAE, EU PF7, Qatar and so on. His research interests encompass structure-controlled nanomaterials synthesis by a flow system powered by microwave irradiation, solar H2 synthesis from water, CO2 capture and conversion to a renewable fuel, photocatalytic environmental purification, microwave catalysis and biomaterials fabrication. Such studies are undertaken in parallel with the mechanistic understanding and device optimisation to address the renewable energy supply and environmental purification.  

His research has led to ~100 papers with 3000 citations, 8 patents and many invited lectures over the last several years. He is an editor of the Frontiers in Energy Research and Journal of Advanced Chemical Engineering and the guest Editor-in-Chief of one special issue of the International Journal of Photoenergy, 2012. He also sits on the editorial board of several international journals. He is the Vice President of the Chinese Society of Chemical Science and Technology in the UK, the Facilitator of Energy Research between UCL and China. He also received several awards, such as Young Scientist Award by International Association of Catalysis Societies in 2008.

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