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Dr Clive Oliver


BSc honours (1998), PhD (2004) University of Cape Town. Claude Leon Postdoctoral Fellow (2005-2007), University of Stellenbosch. Lecturer, University of Cape Town (2007 - present).

Email: Clive.Oliver@uct.ac.za

Research Interests

My research deals mainly with the design of porous materials and large supramolecular assemblies. Porous materialsallow the passage of small molecules through their matrices, and may thus be used for a variety of applications. One of these applications is gas storage and here hydrogen storage is especially relevant since hydrogen has been identified as a possible alternative to fossil fuels, leading to the pursuit of the so-called 'hydrogen economy'. However, with regard to its use as a fuel source for motor vehicles, some practical challenges remain.Large amounts of hydrogen gas are needed to make it a practical fuel source and thus one of the very important challenges for its use in this regard is the reduction of pressure under which the hydrogen gas will need to be stored, in order to reduce the need for heavy containers. Materials that adsorb hydrogen will aid in this regard since they will concentrate the gas onto their available surface areas, thereby reducing the pressure within these containers. In this area I have separate collaborations with Professors L. J. Barbour (University of Stellenbosch), S. A. Bourne (University of Cape Town) and M. R. Caira (University of Cape Town). I have also recently established a collaboration with Dr G. A. Venter (University of Cape Town) whom will investigate these materials from a Computational Chemistry perspective.


Synthetic, large, multi-component, supramolecular assemblies which enclose chemical space are rare. This area of research draws its inspiration from nature (viruses, cells, etc.) and it is envisaged that these systems may in future serve as drug carriers or confined spaces to catalyze reactions. In this area of my research, I have separate collaborations with Professor Barbour and with Dr Nikoletta Báthori (Cape Peninsula University of Technology).