Chemistry professor to research green energy in Japan

The Campaign for a Bold New Brock




Chemistry professor to research green energy in Japan


Jan. 27, 2010

A Brock chemistry professor is headed overseas to study green energy alternatives after receiving a prestigious fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Art van der Est, professor of Chemistry, will study artificial photosynthesis with researcher Motoko Asano at the Tokyo Metropolitan University for four months. The ultimate goal of the research is to understand solar energy conversion in photosynthesis so that fuels such as hydrogen can be artificially produced using sunlight, providing a possible alternative to fossil fuels.

The fellowship — one of only five in Chemistry this year — covers his living and travel expenses and is valued at approximately $17,000.

“Obviously the science is very exciting,” said van der Est, who has spent shorter periods doing research in Japan in the past. “From a personal perspective, I hope to learn a little Japanese.”

Receiving the fellowship, he said, is “wonderful.” His fellowship begins in January 2011.

Van der Est has studied photosynthesis since 1988. At Brock, he and Biological Sciences professor Doug Bruce work with about 10 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in their research. Their lab will occupy part of the bottom level of the new Niagara Health and Bioscience Research Complex, scheduled for completion in March 2011.