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Innovative Physics for Environment and Energy Technology Development and Applications

 

Introduction

            Energy has long been a crucial element for human civilization since humans knew how to make a fire around 600,000 years ago. After a discovery of oil in 1859, the major source of energy has been converted into non-renewable fossil fuels. More importantly, those are limited natural resources for Thailand’s consumption and must be imported yearly. To sustain the national security, it is truly necessary to conduct the research studies associated with alternative energy, such as solar energy which is one of the main sources of renewable green energy abundantly available in Thailand. With the support of Thailand Center of Excellence in Physics during the budget year of 2017-2019, the master research program in Innovative Physics for Environment and Energy Technology Development and Applications aims to research and develop the cost-effective sources of alternative energy and a more effective technique to locate fossil fuels buried under the ground parallel to the global trends in a sustainable way of the natural and environmental conservation. For achieving these goals, the following two sub-research programs are undertaken.

 

1. Innovative Physics for Emerging Perovskite Solar Cell

            According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the growth of global production volumes of electric cars in 2015 had increased by 70%, compared with that in 2014, from 500,000 cars to 1.2 million cars. Over 80% of the productions were in five countries, namely the United States, China, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. The sale volumes of the United State rose by 34% of the entire world. In Thailand, the Subcommittee on Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy, and Energy Conservation of the Committee on Energy Reformation, National Reform Council, projected an expansion of electric cars in Thailand that there might be the cumulative sales of 17,987,663 electric cars during 2012-2036, indicating a continuously fast-rising demand of electric cars. Indeed, the main factor of electric cars is the electric motor fueled by the battery power. It is therefore essential for preparation of electricity sources for charging the battery of electric cars. The most suitable and potential source of alternative energy is an electricity from the solar cell because the charging station is installable everywhere with sunlight accessibility as shown in Figure 1. To meet the future trends and support the policy for electric car production or next-generation automotive under the strategy of Thailand 4.0, it is important to find out the new technology for cost minimization and efficiency enhancement of solar cells. One type of solar cells that has both simple production processes and high energy conversion efficiency (over 20%) is a perovskite solar cell, one of the 3rd generation emerging thin film solar cells as shown in Figure 2. The following five research projects are then supported and promoted. (Please click for more information of each research project)

 



Figure1 (a) Solar electric vehicle charging station of HONDA company.
(From: http://www.plugincars.com/honda-explores-electric-vehicle-solar-charging-106587.html)




Figure1 (b) Solar electric vehicle charging station for home.
(From :http://www.evsolarchargingstations.com/2.18kw-solar-carport-charging-system.htm)




Figure2 Perovkite solar cell or perovskite PV is one of the 3rd generation PVs which refer to PVs that have the potential to overcome
Shockley-Queisser limit for the efficiency of a solar cell. (Modified from : http://www.idtechex.com/research/reports/perovskite-photovoltaics-2015-2025-
technologies-markets-players-000442.asp)



2. Innovative Quantum Physics for Oil and Gas Exploration

 

           Oil and natural gas is not only beneficial for energy sources but also important for the production of essential products for the human society in the forms of jet oil, lubricating oil, fertilizer, plastics, cosmetics, synthetic rubber, medicine, etc. as shown in Figure 3. A reduction of oil and natural gas caused by the electricity production and consumption by vehicles for a long period of time has raised the concern over a stability of the human society. Due to huge reductions, oil and gas exploration is more troublesome. Meanwhile, efficient technology for oil and gas exploration is unavoidably required. This sub-research program therefore puts an emphasis on the research and development of oil and gas exploration technology employing the advanced quantum physics. All three research programs are (Please click for more information of each research project).

 

 



Figure 3 A fraction of the common, everyday products made from oil, coal and natural gas.
(From : http://abambooproject.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-need-for-biobased-consumer-products.html)



 


Research Programs