Health, Science & Technology

Solar Energy Conversion and Energy Storage to Address the Seriousness of Energy Security and Environmental Issues by Mimicking the Ingenuity of Nature

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California Berkeley, USA
Addressing Energy Security and Environmental Issues Through Nature-Inspired Solar Conversion and Storage
 Named 2018 Emerging Investigator in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A by the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK, Dr Ong Wee Jun holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Engineering from Monash University. Additionally, Dr Ong serves on the editorial board of several journals, including Frontiers in Chemistry, Materials Horizons, Scientific Reports and Nanotechnology.
Dr Ong’s research uncovered clean energy resources to substitute fossil fuel towards sustainable energy production. The quest for exploring renewable energy using sunlight to imitate the natural photosynthesis has emerged as a sustainable strategy to resolve the bottleneck due to the exploitation of fossil fuel, since it harnesses direct energy from the sun.  In this regard, semiconductor photo(electro) catalysis has been profiled as one of the most appealing routes for solar energy conversion.
Therefore, Dr Ong’s study looked at providing new research horizons in developing cost-effective hybrid nanocomposites, which can achieve ultrabroad-spectrum absorption by harvesting photon energies spanning from UV to NIR region. This project aims to revolutionise the renewable energy project for the practical benefits and technological readiness.
Collaborations propel research to greater heights
Dr. Ong credits the Merdeka Award Grant for the success of his early-career research, thanks to collaborations with a senior mentor and advisor who helped in the progress of his research journey. 
The technological experience Dr. Ong gained from his attachment with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California Berkeley, USA resulted in the establishment of the Centre of Excellence for NaNo Energy & Catalysis Technology (CONNECT) at Xiamen University Malaysia.

“The Grant advanced my research portfolios due to my consistent achievements and research recognition, I was appointed as the Founding Director of CONNECT from 2021. This is a wonderful and particularly important opportunity to bridge the gap among university, industry and scientific publishers.”, said Dr Ong.
To Dr Ong, research is not meant to be a one-man show but instead is an opportunity for collaboration between people from various backgrounds and disciplines. Thus, it is important to have good networking with experts in the world.
Green energy for our country’s sustainable future
Dr Ong’s particular line of research advances green energy, in line with the World Economic Forum’s Top Ten Emerging Technologies in 2020.
He says It is a way toward clean and renewable fuel production via solar-to-chemical energy conversion. This aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and also the Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030 announced by the Malaysian government as a blueprint toward a more sustainable future for our society.”
Success has a WOW factor
W is for World-class; O for Outstanding; and W for Winnable. That’s Dr. Ong’s own acronym for success. "This is the best way to make us more competitive in this dynamic world, in order to scale new heights in our research and professional career, and to have impactful ideas that enable us to innovate and think outside of the box.” 
The information in this award recipient's profile is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the time the award was presented. Any subsequent changes, updates, or developments in the individual's life or achievements may not be reflected in this profile.

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