Leading light from Norway joins UWS Solar Energy Technologies Group


Date: 13/03/2009

Innovative research at the University of Western Sydney using clever chemistry and sunlight to purify water has received a boost with a visit by an international expert from Norway.

Professor Truls Norby, from the University of Oslo, has joined the UWS Solar Energy Technologies Group as a visiting academic.

Professor Norby is an expert in hydrogen chemistry with particular research interest in the reactivity between hydrogen and oxide semiconductors, which are able to harness solar energy for a wide range of applications.

During his visit, Professor Norby will work with his UWS colleagues on a new approach for water purification - removing bacteria and toxic organic compounds - using oxide semiconductors.

It's hoped the collaboration will lead to a joint research proposal from UWS and the University of Oslo for a novel water treatment using sunlight as the only driving force of the process.

Once developed, an efficient solar-driven water purification process would be in strong demand in Australia and areas of Asia and Africa where access to safe drinking water is sometimes difficult but sunshine is abundant.

Professor Janusz Nowotny of the UWS Solar Energy Technologies Group believes the visit by an eminent academic is an important step in building closer international collaborations between Australia and Norway on renewable energy.

"Professor Norby has established a prominent research centre on oxide semiconductors in Oslo. There are many overlaps between his centre and the UWS Solar Energy Technologies Group in terms of research and scientific goals," says Professor Nowotny, who has recently joined UWS along with colleagues Associate Professor Tad Bak, Dr Leigh Sheppard and Dr Maria Nowotny.

"Working with Professor Norby is a great privilege and the partnership being forged will produce a critical mass of knowledge, experience and research expertise.

"This is the first step in building a stronger alliance of similar research groups around the world - all focused on delivering new methods to safely produce energy and clean water without consuming precious resources," Professor Nowotny says.

The Solar Energy Technologies Group is based at the Hawkesbury and Campbelltown campuses.

Professor Truls Norby is Professor of Chemistry and works within the Centre for Materials Science and Nanotechnology, where he heads the FERMiO top-tier research initiative on functional energy related materials in Oslo. His main focus of research is in materials for electrochemical and photoelectrochemical energy conversion devices, especially issues related to hydrogen.

During his visit to UWS, Professor Norby will deliver a lecture at "Energy: Environmentally Friendly Solutions" workshop at the Campbelltown campus on Friday 27 March from 9:30am to 5:30pm in Building 30.
More details: http://www.uws.edu.au/solarenergy

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Paul Grocott
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