Globally recognised for his outstanding research into the emerging field of nanoporous materials, Professor Ajayan Vinu is the latest high profile professorial appointment to UniSA’s new Future Industries Institute.
And it is his research into nanoporous carbon nitride which is creating some excitement for environmental scientists troubled by our rapid progression to critical global warming.
Prof Vinu’s research into carbon nitrides has found that they have just the right properties to support the capture and conversion of CO2 molecules.
“Their interesting properties - a semiconducting framework structure and ordered pores - make them exciting candidates for the capture and conversion of CO2 molecules into methanol which can then be used as a source of green energy with the help of sunlight and water,” Prof Vinu says.
“My goal is to develop this unique approach which has the potential to make a huge contribution to cleaning the environment and addressing one of our most significant environmental problems, the mitigation of atmospheric CO2.
“This fascinating material is not only helping in reducing CO2 levels by developing an efficient, low-cost photo electrochemical semiconductor device, but also offers a clean fuel source from the conversion of adsorbed CO2 molecules."
Prof Vinu says he is excited to be working at a research institute so clearly focussed on delivering applications and outcomes for industry and society.
“I am quite excited about this opportunity at the Future Industries Institute, where I can use my experience in nanomaterials and networking and my collaboration skills to translate the research into real products,” he says.
“Through a strong multidisciplinary approach and deep collaboration with industries I am sure we can create tangible benefits for society.”
Prof Vinu discoveries have led to outstanding worldwide recognition, including extremely high citations in the scientific literature which are in excess of 10,000.
His work on this novel material and other materials with future-focussed applications has also earned him recognition by key societies in Japan, Germany, India, Iran and Australia. These include prestigious awards from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Humboldt Foundation and the Australian Research Council.
UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, Prof Tanya Monro says the appointment of Prof Vinu sets the stage for exciting developments at the FII.
“Prof Vinu is a fantastic complement to the Institute which is focussed on research that will seed future industries and also provide solutions to emerging challenges,” Prof Monro says.
“The FII brings together the University’s research capacity across four key strands: Minerals and resources engineering; Energy and advanced manufacturing; Environmental science and engineering; and Biomaterials engineering and nanomedicine.
“This appointment adds capacity to our strength in materials and energy engineering with a clear pathway to partner engagement and impact.”
Welcoming the appointment, UniSA Vice Chancellor Prof David Lloyd says Prof Vinu’s addition to the Future Industries Institute research team further expands the Institute’s application of the cutting-edge science to the generation of new opportunities for industries and society.
“One of the key features of Professor Vinu’s work has been his generation of national and international patents in the area of nanoporous materials,” Prof Lloyd says.
“His research history is hallmarked by powerful international links with some of the most prestigious groups globally.
“International connectivity is increasingly a driver in the creation of new opportunities for industry and Prof Vinu’s research is both enterprising and focussed on issues of global significance.
“We are delighted to welcome him to the dynamic research team at the Future Industries Institute and look forward to his contribution to UniSA and to South Australia.”
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