UofT Solar Fuels Cluster

The U of T Solar Fuels Cluster is an interdisciplinary research team devoted to developing scalable, cost effective materials solutions towards using CO2 as a chemical feedstock for valuable products. Leveraging the expertise of some of Canada's leading chemists, engineers, and material scientists, we hope to initiate a paradigm-shifting zero-emission CO2 economy. Having recently been awarded the prestigious $1M Connaught Global Challenge Award, our dynamic team is well positioned to be at the leading edge of CO2-to-fuel technology development in the coming years.


June 16, 2017 - Concordia’s Science Odyssey was kick-started with a lecture from Geoff entitled “Jar of Fears: Do We Want to Fight CO2 or Embrace It?” The video can be watched here.

May 15, 2017 - Congratulations Hong Wang on his VIP Angewandte Chemie Paper! The conceptual advance described in this paper is a novel strategy for the manufacture of metal-free, hierarchically structured, nitrogen-doped, nanoporous carbon-carbon nanotube composite membranes that can be utilized as a gas diffusion electrode for the large scale electrochemical reduction of CO2-to-formate.

May 11, 2017 - On May 9th and 10th, U of T’s Solar Fuels Cluster hosted the international “CO2 Solutions to Climate Change” Symposium, bringing together the world’s top scientists and engineers, all of whom are developing creative solutions to transform CO2 into useful chemicals, materials, and fuels. A variety of cutting-edge chemical, biological, computational, and materials-based strategies were presented. Science and engineering researchers, engineers and policy makers from the United States, China, Japan, the UK, and Germany laid out the full spectrum of scientific, economic and political challenges that must addressed to successfully shift towards the CO2 energy economy.

March 26, 2017 - Chinese students from Ozin group, Chenxi Qian and Wei Sun were awarded highest honor by the Chinese government at the Chinese Consulate General Toronto. Geoff praised his students and gave a speech about his views on Chinese students.

February 29, 2017 - Slow photons back in the fast lane break new ground for all solar related applications in the future. This review article, published in Advanced Materials, provides a comprehensive overview of pioneering research, present day activities and future directions aimed at enhancing the harvesting of sunlight by exploiting the unique properties of slow photons in photonic crystal materials.

January 17, 2017 - Geoff is featured in Advanced Science News as the top cited author in the new journal Advanced Science.

November 29, 2016 - Geoff has been selected as one of the six finalists for the 2016 World Technology Award in the Area of Energy. Congratulations, Geoff! Update (December 9, 2016): Geoff has won the the 2016 World Technology Award in Energy!

November 28, 2016 - Solar Powered Reverse Water Gas Shift Reaction: Congratulations to Laura on her PNAS paper! In this work, published in the November 2016 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, we investigate the role of oxygen vacancy and hydroxide defects on the electronic and photocatalytic properties of In2O3-x(OH)y nanocrystals that have been shown to effectively reduce CO2 to CO via the solar powered reverse water–gas shift reaction CO2 + H2 + hv -> CO + H2O.

October 28, 2016 - Photo-desalination: There is more than One Way of Winning the Battle against Climate Change. Congratulations to Miaomiao and Jia on their AEM paper! In this paper we demonstrated that the high solar thermal conversion efficiency, low cost, low-toxicity, and good chemical stability make black TiOx (x < 2) nanoparticles a potentially useful material for converting solar energy to the thermal energy for evaporation of seawater or brackish water in remote and rural areas where access to a centralized drinking water supply is unavailable.

photocatalytic properties of all four polymorphs of nanostructured iron oxyhydroxides

October 26, 2016 - Congratulations to Ab, Mo and Paul on the publication of their latest paper in ChemNanoCat entitled “photocatalytic properties of all four polymorphs of nanostructured iron oxyhydroxides”.

October 20, 2016 - New Cover on Advanced Science. Some like it Hot: Carbon Dioxide Reduction: Visible and Near-Infrared Photothermal Catalyzed Hydrogenation of Gaseous CO2 over Nanostructured Pd@Nb2O5.

photocatalytic properties of all four polymorphs of nanostructured iron oxyhydroxides

October 7, 2016 - Laura has been featured by ACCN for her work promoting green chemistry at UofT. Reyes was one of 12 students who formed the Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) in 2012, and has also oriented her PhD studies towards green chemistry, investigating the surface interactions of carbon dioxide and hydrogen on metal oxide nanomaterials for applications in photocatalytic CO2 reduction.

Edith M. Flanigen Honeywell UOP Invitational Lecture

October 4, 2016 - Join the war on Climate Change: "TRANSFORMATIVE RESEARCH TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGE WORKSHOP" scheduled on 12th October, 2016, with opening remarks by Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

September 16, 2016 - Geoff is awarded the opportunity to deliver the Fifth Annual Edith M. Flanigen Honeywell UOP Invitational Lecture in Materials Science Series, honoring his years of dedication and contributions to the field of chemistry. Previous winners are Galen D. Stucky, Mark E. Davis, Lynne McCusker and Avelino Corma.

Top Highly Cited in 2016

July 25, 2016 - Geoff brings up the growing CO2 problem facing us in his latest opinion piece on MaterialsViews. A breakdown of the possible short, medium, and long term solutions is presented here. The full article can be read on the Materials Views website.

July 25, 2016 - Advanced Science has received its first impact factor: 6.00. A bit of history: the front cover of the first issue back in 2014 came from our group. Coincidentally 31 years ago when Advanced Materials launched its first changable graphic-based front cover, the cover story was from our group, too. Our group cover gallery can be accessed here.

July 25, 2016 - Kulbir's perspective article titled "Surface Analogs of Molecular Frustrated Lewis Pairs in Heterogeneous CO2 Hydrogenation Catalysis" accepted by ACS Catalysis. Congratulations, Kulbir! The article discusses whether or not thinking about surface acidity and basicity in terms of FLPs is something new or something old, something useful and serves a practical purpose or something uninformative and unhelpful.

July 14, 2016 - Geoff Ozin is listed in the "2016 List of Most Cited Researchers in Materials Science and Engineering by Elsevier Scopus Data". The full list can be found on the MSES website.

July 13, 2016 - Geoff Ozin describes the grouwing CO2 problem from the perspective of the chemical industry in his new Materials Views editorial CO2 Conundrum .

July 06, 2016 - Jia and Paul's work on the reverse water gas shift reaction driven by Nb2O5 nanorod-supported Pd nanocrystals was published in Advanced Science. This work represents a significant enhancement in our understanding of the underlying mechanism of photothermally driven CO2 reduction and will help guide the way toward the development of highly efficient catalysts that exploit the full solar spectrum to convert gas-phase CO2 to valuable chemicals and fuels.

Jia Jia

June 16, 2016 - In a review authored by Wei Sun, Chenxi Qian, and Kenneth Chen of our Silicon team, recent studies in the literature on size dependent properties of mono-disperse Silicon nanocrystals is summarized. The full article can be found on the ChemNanoMat website.

June 15, 2016 - Laura’s investigation on the effect catalyst precursors play in the photocatalytic activity of In2O3 is described in her recent Chemistry of Materials paper. It was observed that the active form, a defected In2O3-x(OH)y is formed upon thermal decomposition of In(OH)3, whereas In(NO3)3 decomposition results in a more stoichiometric but less active In2O3. This study further sheds light on the importance of surface defects in heterogeneous photocatalysis. The full article can be found on the Chemistry of Materials website.

June 6, 2016 - Our paper titled "Kinetics versus Charge Separation: Improving the Activity of Stoichiometric and Non-Stoichiometric Hematite Photoanodes Using a Molecular Iridium Water Oxidation Catalyst" was published in J. Phys. Chem. C. Congratulations to Jon Moir! The full article can be found on the ACS website with a subscription.

May 23, 2016 - An innovative strategy is described for synthesizing a new class of porous near infrared photoluminescent organic-inorganic hybrid materials by chemically incorporating hydrogen-terminated silicon nanocrystals into porous polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS) frameworks while maintaining the integrity of both the POSS cages and silicon nanocrystals intact, an advance that bodes well for applications in the fields of advanced materials, gas adsorption media, and biomedicine. Congratulations to Dongzhi Chen! The full article can be found on the Wiley website with a subscription.

May 12, 2016 - Study on In2O3-x(OH)y Nanocrystal Superstructures for Photocatalysis of CO2 Reduction Published in ACS Nano. Congratulations to Le He! The full article can be found on ACS website with a subscription.

April 25, 2016 - The latest issue of C&EN features our group's work with frustrated lewis pairs on the surface of In2O3 and how it enhances activity for the reverse water-gas shift reaction. The full article can be found on C&EN's website with a subscription.

April 8, 2016 - In a new Material Views editorial titled "Titania mania - peering into the heart of photocatalysis", Geoff wrotes about a study using 4D ultra-fast electron diffraction to observe how the structure of a photocatalysis changes in the excited state and the implication this technique can have in the field of photocatalysis. The full article can be found here.

March 30, 2016 - The research of the Solar Fuels Cluster on fixing CO2 as chemicals and fuels is a feature article in the March 2016 issue of the UofT Magazine. The full article can be found here. The March issue of UofTMagazine can be found on the UofTMagazine website.

February 10, 2016 - Geoff Ozin discusses strategies for "fixing" CO2 in a Materials Views editorial.

February 1, 2016 - In a new C&EN Perspective, Geoff Ozin reflects on on the birth and growth of nanochemistry.

Solar Fuels From The Sun

Not Fossil Fuels From The Earth