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8. Center of Excellence for Nanomaterial for Clean Energy Applications (CENCEA)


Partner: University of California, Berkeley

KACST-UC Berkeley Center of Excellence of Nanomaterial for Clean Energy applications (CENCEA) aims to innovate nanomaterials to develop solutions to challenges in renewable and cleaner energy.



The high global demand for energy is mainly satisfied through the burning of fossil fuels (86%), generating thirty-five billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. Since this amount is predicted to significantly increase in the foreseeable future, clean energy applications have recently attracted enormous societal, political and scientific interest.

Thus, the research interests at CENCEA are mainly focused on the synthesis of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) for use in different industrial applications. Owing to their exceptionally high surface areas, these materials can exhibit tremendous capacities for compressed gas storage, delivering the highest known storage densities for CH4, C2H2, CO2, and cryogenic H2. A high surface area is also beneficial for gas separations, such as CO2 capture, where it can ensure a high working capacity and, assuming good permeability, rapid adsorption because of the large gas-solid interface.

In addition, the Center focuses on connecting our basic understanding of the synthesis and properties of nanocrystals, in particular its use in different applications as its physical, chemical, electrical and thermodynamics properties depend on the size of its crystal. It should be noted that these materials would have a use in the efficient separation of hydrocarbons, carbon capture from flue gas, gas conversion to liquid fuels, and solar energy conversion.