Laboratory of Renewable Energy is an advanced research lab, which focuses on both designing/exploiting novel solar sensitive/multifunctional materials and solve fundamental/technical problems in the fields of solar cells, solar fuel, biomass, hydrogen generation, hydrogen storage, and hydrogen sensor applications through developing the strategic solutions and extending the technologies developed in the lab. The vision of the lab is to advance science in the field of renewable/green energy and develop sustainable technology.

If a building becomes architecture, then it is art
(1) Study of Next Generation Photovoltaics (Dr. Bakhytzhan Baptayev). The direction of research in photovoltaics include:                      
(1-1) Investigation of stability and cost reduction of dye-sensitized solar cells including development of competitive, less-expensive, and highly efficient components; designs of solid-state electrolytes (gel, semi-solid, solid); development of devices powered by dye-sensitized solar.
(1-2) High efficiency and stability of perovskite solar cells based on emerging materials, which include different compositional perovskite materials, transition metal oxides nanostructures and cost-effective electrodes with good stability, high transparency, high conductivity and mechanical flexibility.                                 
(1-3) Study of polymer solar cell efficiency through morphological changes, additive doping, and different cell design concepts. Improve charge separation, charge mobility, and flexibility by cross-linking, morphology changes and other methods.

(2) Designing of High Solar-Sensitive Materials to improve the photocatalytic efficiency (Dr. Vladislav Kudrashev and Dr. Yerkin Shabdan).
Relative to the solar cell study, photocatalytic conversion efficiency including hydrogen fuel generation and organic compound degradation is quite low since it includes additional catalytic conversion step. Furthermore, Solar to Hydrogen efficiency (STH) for particulate-based photocatalyst is around 3%. The ultimate goal is to reach 10% of STH. Thus, it is essential to develop high efficient solar-sensitive materials which not only provide hydrogen fuel for energy, but also offer important applications in sensor and environmental remediation. Therefore, we propose to conduct the following three research thrusts in the ASEMS lab.
(2-1) Designing solar sensitive nanocomposite materials is to enhance photocatalytic hydrogen production from water, hydrocarbon fuels from Carbon dioxide, and ammonia fuel production from nitrogen gas in the atmosphere. In this study, the solar sensitive materials with broad band gap will be designed to investigate charge separation and catalytic conversion mechanism in the photocatalytic reaction systems.
(2-2) In this project, development of solar sensitive nanocomposite materials will be focused for their sensor application based on the following hypothesis: The photocurrent generated by using photoactive nanocomposite materials improves the resulted signal of the photocurrent over dark current, which provides high sensitivity. The high sensitive, selective, and through output sensor will be studied via designing various solar sensitive nanocomposite materials and investigating their mechanism.
(2-3) the project is to investigate photocatalytic conversion of organic pollutants in the water by solar sensitive materials. The design, and synthesis of solar sensitive materials with broad band gap will be focused in combination with theoretical modeling and their photocatalytic mechanism will be investigated.
(2-4) Development of Prototype Photovoltaics-Energy storage systems for low energy consumption devices. Develop the integrated systems based on photovoltaics, batteries, solar fuel, and sensors for future smart and green technologies. Expand the device fabrication skills to construct complete photovoltaic-energy storage system.

(3) Development of Hydrogen Storage Materials (Dr. Hadichahan Rafikova).
Hydrogen is a much more economically viable energy carrier with a high calorific value than coal and synthetic fossil fuels and is also the most environmentally compatible fuel. However, the introduction of a hydrogen economy without workable storage systems will be difficult for the sectors of industry, stationary, portable energy sources, gas stations and transportation. Therefore, hydrogen storage is a key enabling technology for the advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in applications including stationary power, portable power, and transportation. The goal is to provide adequate hydrogen storage to meet hydrogen storage targets for onboard light-duty vehicles, material-handling equipment, and portable power applications. At present, we are focusing on development of the hydrogen storage materials including metal alloys, Metal hydrides, MOFs, conducting polymers, carbon based materials and their composites via studying its physical and chemical adsorption mechanism.
 Research Goals:
- Identifying suitable materials for hydrogen storage;
- Understanding the hydrogen storage mechanism;
- Improving the storage capacity;
- Improving the hydrogen release kinetics.

(4) Biomass-derived value added chemicals, medicines and green materials (Dr. Minavar Shaimardan).
The deterioration of fossil fuel reserves and their detrimental effects has prompted to explore sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives. In this regard, recycling of waste biomass is a promising opportunity that converts biomass wastes into value-added materials for applications in different fields such as medicine, cosmetics, food packaging and polymers. Our research goal is to explore novel routes for preparing active pharmaceutical ingredients and Bio-Derived Polymers from biomass-derived platform molecules (furanics), in combination with photo-, mechano-, and flow chemistry.        

(5) Materials with Multiple Functions, Membrane Technologies, and Coating Solutions (Dr. Olzat Toktarbaiuly and Dr. Jeksen Toktarbay).

The multi-functional materials including coatings, and membranes will be studied for the purpose of anticing, superhydrophobicity, desulfurization, self-cleaning for the energy and other targeted applications.
Here, our approach is to fundamental research, design and fabrication of inexpensive, robust and promising superhydrophobic anti-icing multifunctional materials that can be suitable for extreme road conditions and climate of Kazakhstan.

(6) Zwitteronic Polymers as smart materials for various applications (Dr. Munziya Abutalip)
Zwitterionic polymers, characterized by having both positive and negative charges within their structure, have gained significant attention as smart materials due to their unique properties. These materials exhibit excellent biocompatibility, antifouling, and stimuli-responsive behavior, making them suitable for various applications across different fields, Among them, our laboratory focuses on:
Membrane Filtration: Zwitterionic polymers offer versatile and effective solutions for improving membrane filtration processes, with potential applications in water treatment, wastewater reuse, desalination, and industrial separations. Continued research and development in this area are expected to further advance the performance and scalability of zwitterionic polymer-based membranes for addressing global water and environmental challenges.
Paraffin inhibition:Amphiphilic polybetaines have shown promising antibacterial properties due to their high water solubility, tunable charge regulation, and nonspecific interactions with biological media. Recently hydrophobically modified poly carboxybetaines (or amphiphilic poly carboxybetaines) (with controlled molecular weight, composition, architecture and functional hydrophobic-hydrophilic groups) synthesized by living radical polymerization approaches in our lab showed unique self-assembled nanostructures and Amphiphilic polycarboxybetaines showed great performance in paraffin inhibition.
Biomedical Applications: Zwitterionic self-healed hydrogels represent a novel class of materials that have garnered significant interest in the field of biomaterials and tissue engineering. These hydrogels combine the unique properties of zwitterionic polymers with self-healing and excellent mechanical capabilities, offering potential applications in drug delivery, wound healing, and tissue regeneration.

(7) Nanostructured Conducting Polymers (Dana Kanzhigitova)
Versatile nanostructures of conducting polymers are highly relevant based on unique properties, including electrical, optical and thermal, with changes in morphology. This contribution reports a facile and reproducible synthesis approach for the design of conducting polymer nanostructures from zero-dimensional to 3D composites.
Polypyrrole (PPy), polyaniline (Pani), polythiophene (PTh), and Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) represent notable examples of conducting polymers (CPs). These materials possess the unique characteristic of combining the conductive capabilities of plastics with the capacity of metallic and semiconductor materials to demonstrate diverse properties through the processes of doping and dedoping. The doping process is applied in the polymer production process to achieve the expected results of enhanced CP conductivity.
The primary goal of this research work is to address fundamental scientific problems in the field of hydrogen gas detection by synthesizing new materials and studying the correlations between their structure/morphology and sensing properties. Our specific research objectives can be elaborated on below. The first objective is to synthesize ordered conducting polymer chains using an inorganic crystal template. The second objective is to fabricate three different morphologies of conducting polymers. One of the morphologies is to produce hollow conducting polymer nanotubes, inspired by carbon nanotubes, to enhance charge carrier mobility using the electrospinning technique. The third objective is to understand the fundamental connection among ordered polymer chains, various morphologies, and hydrogen gas sensing properties. The final objective is to enhance their potential in different environmental conditions by optimizing the sensitivity and structure/morphology of these materials.

The next idea of the research work is that sulfonate dopants will bond with the polymer matrix, thereby modifying its molecular composition and influencing its electrical conductivity. The addition of these dopants is hypothesized to increase charge carrier mobility, leading to increased electrical conductivity and enhanced thermoelectric properties. The research will entail the synthesis and characterization of various conducting polymer samples doped with the aforementioned sulfonic acids, followed by a thorough evaluation of their electrical conductivity, charge carrier concentration, as well as thermoelectric behavior. At the same time, other parameters such as linker addition, template and oxidant will also be applied to enhance the properties of obtained materials.

  • Nurxat Nuraje, Ph.D

    Professor and Lab Head

  • Olzat Toktarbaiuly, Ph.D

    Senior Researcher

  • Bakhytzhan Baptayev, Ph.D

    Senior Researcher

  • Vladislav Kudryashov, PhD

    Senior Researcher

  • Yerkin Shabdan, PhD

    Senior Researcher

  • Minavar Shaimardan, Ph.D

    Senior Researcher
  • Munziya Abutalip, PhD

    Senior Researcher

  • Khadichakhan Rafikova, PhD

    Senior Researcher

  • Enoch Adotey, Ph.D
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