Smart City

The general idea of Smart City goes beyond the use of information and communication technology to minimise the demand for resources and to reduce emissions. It also means enhancing city efficiency, promoting business productivity, improving quality of life and enhancing climatic resilience.

With Smart City as one of CityU’s five overarching themes, researchers from different disciplines are working on innovative solutions that address regional and global concerns and challenges such as sustainable energy, climate change, environmental degradation, urban planning, government regulation and the law.

New sulfate formation pathway for more accurate haze prediction

Sustainability and environmental issues are one of the biggest challenges affecting our quality of life in the 21st century. When addressing air pollution problems, it is important not to underestimate the effect of secondary pollutants such as sulfate that can be formed via a series of atmospheric chemical processes, as opposed to primary pollutants from direct emissions.

Professor Chan Chak-keung, Dean of the School of Energy and Environment, has proposed a new pathway for the formation of sulfate, providing new insights into improving haze prediction.

Sulfate is a key component of particulate matter (PM) during haze episodes in China. The team found that the nitrate photolysis pathway generates a significant amount of sulfate, making it equally or more important than other known pathways of sulfate formation at typical acidity levels of PM during haze episodes in China. This can potentially explain the difference between field measurements and model estimations of sulfate formation during haze episodes. It has also opened up nitrate photolysis as a mechanism for the formation of sulfate, as well as other secondary PM pollutants, such as secondary organic aerosols that are formed in the atmosphere. 

 

Boosting sustainable energy

Our scientists are advancing the frontiers of renewable energy research with significant inventions that tackle the looming energy crisis.

The new wave-energy-device 

Led by Professor He Jr-hau from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the inventions include the development of a novel wave energy device: a lightweight wave-energy-driven electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction system that can capture ocean wave energy and convert it into formic acid, a liquid fuel. This new invention can achieve a higher wave energy conversion efficiency and power output than conventional converters, and may help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in the long run.

Professor He has also developed a new photoelectrochemical system that will increase the efficiency of solar-to-hydrogen energy conversion by two-fold and at half the cost. Its stability increased sharply from a few minutes to over 150 hours, a record high among conventional technologies. This breakthrough could minimise the geographical constraints for future research.

Professor Alex Jen Kwan-yue (2nd right)

Pioneering research led by Professor Alex Jen Kwan-yue, Chair Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science, has discovered an exciting new way to render solar power more effective and environmentally friendly.

The use of a groundbreaking 2D conjugated metal-organic framework not only improves operational stability but also prevents lead from leaking from perovskite solar cells, making way for a commercially viable, large-scale deployment of the technology. The research outcomes suggested improved sustainability, good operational stability and enhanced power conversion efficiency.

 

 

 

Brought to you by