July 26, 2021
Photons Canada news

Materials for Clean Fuels and Photonics

Canada needs to reduce 716 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions per year to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Electrification and energy efficiency alone are not enough to meet our targets. Scalable technologies to produce zero-emission industrial chemicals and transportation fuels do not currently exist, according to the National Research Council Canada (NRC) statement for launching the Materials for Clean fuels Challenge program plan in 2019.

The Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program will focus on materials to close the carbon loop by developing technologies to convert renewable electricity, carbon dioxide, and water into fuels and chemicals.

It is to accomplish the following:

  • Discover a new broad range of cost-effective catalysts and membranes for fuels and chemical feedstock production
  • Scale-up and demonstrate carbon dioxide conversion technology
  • Reduce the cost to make, use, move and store hydrogen
  • Publish experimental and computational databases and machine learning tools for catalyst material discovery

As a result, a challenge program has been launched and has identified 16 projects/teams that have started and are well on their way. Among these are renewable syngas from photocatalytic CO2 conversion and Solar fuels for carbon-neutral transportation, in which photonics technology plays an important role as we have seen in the first article that was published in this month series contribution from the University of Ottawa “Out of thick air: Transforming CO2 into light emitting carbon”. Also, we have seen how Photovoltaic and organic Photovoltaic contribute to the solar fuels in the subsequent articles that we have published this month of July 2021.

The current distribution of the G20’s Energy mix is depicted in the image below.

Canada has only 4% renewable energy in the Energy mix of 2019, with 31% in natural gas, 24% in Hydro 6% in nuclear and 35% in others, according to an article in visualcapitalis.com

The program spearheaded by NRC will run for 7 years from 2019-2026 and is part of Canada’s Science Vision and the Government of Canada’s commitment of more than $10 billion to science, which includes the largest-ever increase in funding for fundamental research.

In a virtual ceremony on November 16, 2020, the new advanced materials research facility in Mississauga, Ontario was opened to serve as a national clean energy hub. The facility is part of the Canadian Campus for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (CCAMM), a joint initiative between the NRC and the Xerox Research Centre of Canada (XRCC). As part of the ceremony, the NRC announced the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program will be housed at the research facility.


Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program (canada.ca)

Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program plan (canada.ca)

Out of thick air: Transforming CO2 into light-emitting carbon – Photons Canada

Visualizing 50+ Years of the G20’s Energy Mix (1965-2019) (visualcapitalist.com)

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