Chemistry and Solar Energy Technology

Speaker: Amy M. Scott, Ph.D.
Assistant professor
University of Miami, Department of Chemistry

Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Time: 12:10–1:00 p.m.
Venue: Mailman-Hollywood Building | Second Floor Auditorium

The Climate-Sustainability Lecture Series, hosted by the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, will discuss Powering the Planet: The Role Chemistry Plays in Solar Energy Technology” at the next talk. This event is free and all NSU members are welcome to attend.

Global energy demands are projected to double by 2050, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and solar energy has the greatest potential as the most benign and universal resource for generating electricity. However, harnessing the solar energy efficiently and converting it into useful forms of power that are compatible with our current infrastructure remains an elusive goal.

Today’s solar energy utilization relies on silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) technology, which converts photon energy to electrical energy. The efficiency of these devices remains low (< 30%), and the cost of processing silicon and installing solar panels in homes makes PV uneconomical compared to the current price of electricity.

Research efforts to develop new inorganic and organic materials for thin film PV to replace silicon are currently underway. Organic materials are particularly interesting from the standpoint of developing simple, cheap materials that can be easily tailored for future PV devices. The future of solar energy utilization relies on developing solar paints for vehicles, solar shingles for rooftops, and spray-on solar ink for small-device applications. Continued fundamental research is needed for decreasing cost and improving efficiency for next-generation devices.

Scott is leading a research group at the University of Miami that is working on photoactive liquid crystals, artificial photosynthesis, and multiple charge and energy pathways in quantum dots-assemblies for biosensing.

Scott received her doctoral degree from Northwestern University. Before joining the University of Miami faculty, she conducted postdoctoral research at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, followed by work at Columbia University as the Dreyfus Environmental Chemistry Fellow.

About the Lecture Series
The Climate-Sustainability Lecture Series highlights understanding of the science, technology, and policies relating to climate change and sustainable development. Experts in related fields from within NSU and other institutions are the featured speakers. The series provides faculty members and students the opportunity to discuss the scientific, technological, social, and policy aspects of sustainability-related issues.

For more information, contact Song Gao, Ph.D., associate professor at the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, at (954) 262-8388.