Solar Fuels

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Chemistry

Abstract

Background
Solar Energy is the world's largest renewable energy resource; the solar irradiation on the plant in one hour exceeds our current annual global energy demand. Existing solar conversion technologies achieve the conversion of solar energy to electricity (photovoltaics) or heat (solar thermal). Both technologies are making rapid scientific and technical progress, and achieving substantial market growth. For example 6.4 x 10^10 W of photovoltaic (PV) systems had been installed in > 100 countries by December 2011. However these solar conversion technologies have two significant limitations - the lack of a viable, scale-able energy storage strategy to address the intermittency of solar irradiation - and the lack of a viable mechanism to convert sunlight into transportation fuel. Given that transportation currently comprises ~ 1/3 of global energy demand, this latter limitation is of particular concern.

Plant photosynthesis demonstrates the viability of the direct conversion of sunlight to chemical fuels, storing the incident solar irradiation in the form of chemical bonds. However the relatively low solar to biomass energy conversion efficiencies of natural photosynthesis, and the limited availability of suitable cultivatable land, limit the global potential of direct bioenergy conversion. As such, artificial photosynthetic strategies are attracting extensive interest for the development of chemical reactors capable of utilising sunlight to drive the synthesis of molecular fuels.

The production of fuels (H2, HCO2H, CH3OH, CH4 etc.) using solar energy is now a very rapidly developing research field internationally. It is highly inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary, encompassing a range of scientifically distinct approaches to solar-driven synthesis of molecular fuels. Whilst the potential role(s) of solar-driven fuel synthesis within the overall parallel challenges of solar energy utilisation and renewable fuel synthesis needs to be clarified, there is increasing appreciation of the importance of meeting these challenges, and recent impressive scientific advances in the solar fuels field, are driving this field very rapidly up the scientific, commercial and policy agendas.

Network Focus
The Solar Fuels Network will focus on direct photo-driven fuel synthesis strategies. These include photoelectrochemical, molecular and photocatalytic strategies. Developing these strategies requires bringing together a range of disciplines including photoelectrochemistry, redox catalysis, molecular and semiconductor photochemistry, materials and particularly nanomaterials design and synthesis, photoreactor design and engineering as well as technology, environmental and lifecycle analyses.

Whilst the Network will focus on direct photo-driven processes, it is important to recognise that advances in this field will most probably be dependent upon advances in wider research fields, including electrocatalysis, biological photosynthetic processes, semiconductor photocatalysis and photovoltaics. Furthermore, assessment of solar fuels technology applications will require interfacing with, and evaluation against, alternative or complementary fuel synthesis strategies including water electrolysis, thermochemical CO2 reduction, CO2 capture, fuel cells, solar cells and alternative energy storage strategies. As such, the Network will plan to work closely with these research communities, including in particular organising joint events with suitable partner programmes and organisations - for example, the CO2 Chemistry and Semiconductor Photocatalysis Networks, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell, Storage, Bioenergy and Solar Supergen Hubs, the EG&S and Nanotechnology KTN's, the Royal Society of Chemistry etc.

Planned Impact

In addition to its impact on the academic artificial photosynthesis research community, Tthe network will also address the wider challenge of developing UK science and technology roadmaps on solar to fuels, and how this technology can contribute to reductions in green house gas emissions both within the UK and globally. In this regard, we will work with other EPSRC funded hubs and networks addressing complimentary science and technology issues, as detailed in the case for support, including the CO2 Chemistry and Semiconductor Photocatalysis Networks, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell, Storage, Bioenergy and Solar Supergen Hubs. Members of the network are already closely engaged with international initiatives on solar fuels (including for example EuChemS and the US JCAP and Solar Fuels Institute) enabling us to maximise synergies, and the global impact, of network activities. Both the RSC and Foreign and Commenwealth Office's Science and Innovation network have expressed interest in working with network to enable its global engagement, including the sponsoring of international and bilateral meetings (see supporting letters).

Of particular importance in maximising the impact of this network will be engagement with the Royal Society of Chemistry. The applicants already have a strong record of working with the RSC to raise the profile and coherence of solar fuels research in the UK and in initiating discussion of a UK roadmap in this field. The RSC has expressed a strong commitment to working with the solar fuels network to maximising our joint impact in this area, including:
- Continued support to UK community-building, including, for example, partial financial support for meetings.
- Running RSC organised solar fuels meetings, including international conferences, workshops and bilateral meetings.
- Publicity and dissemination activities through RSC journals, magazines and websites.
- Policy focussed events and drafting of policy documents.

The applicant's activities to date in conjunction with the RSC have already had a very strong track record - with the launch of the RSC's policy document on solar fuels, and the associated meeting, receiving extensive interest in both the scientific and popular press (see letter of support from RSC for details).

The application PI, Prof Durrant, has a strong track record of working with the RSC on solar fuels, and also sits on the RSC's Environment and Sustainable Energy Committee. Several advisory board members are closely associated with RSC activities in this area already, including Anthony Harriman (RSC's Solar Champion) and Mercedes Maroto-Valer (Chair of RSC's Energy Sector committee). Beyond the RSC, Professor Durrant already has experience in integrating and co-ordinating activities across the energy sector through his role as Deputy Director of Imperial's Energy Futures Lab. The applicants moreover cover all the main subject disciplines relevant to solar fuels research - comprising Chemistry (Durrant), Materials (Riley), Chemical Engineering (Kelsall) and Biochemistry (Barber), thus enabling the network to maximise its engagement in all of these disciplines.

Outreach and dissemination activities will be a key function of the network. Currently the challenge of renewable fuel synthesis, and solar driven fuel synthesis in particular, is not widely appreciated by the wider scientific community, policy makers and the general public. In this regard, several members of the network already have strong track records in such outreach and dissemination activities including including Professors Parkin and Sella at UCL, Cogdell and Cronin at Glasgow and Rutherford, Riley and Barber at Imperial. Building upon this strength, we will work with our partners organisations (RSC, EG&S and Nano KTN's and FCO's Science and Innovation Network) and facilitate and encourage all network members to engage in outreach and dissemination activities.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description UK vision statement for solar fuels (see publications). Also inputs to RS document on CO2 utilisation, Hydrogen generation and ongoing document on Synthetic Fuels.

Global vision statement for Sunlight Conversion under Mission Innovation
Exploitation Route in discussion with EPSRC, Mission Innovation, EU over funding call based on vision statement
Sectors Chemicals,Education,Energy

URL http://www.solarfuelsnetwork.com
 
Description Development of UK solar fuels community. The network has already ~ 500 registered members. Its annual UK 1 day symposium attracts over 100 participants annually. Through a focused workshop and wider discussion, it has developed a UK vision statement for solar fuels which has support across the academic, commercial and governmental participants of the network. Continuation of EPSRC support for network now confirmed through award of Supersolar Network+, which will support Solar Fuels Network under the new leadership of Prof Erwin Reisner
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Chemicals,Energy
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Inputs to Royal Society reports on Hydrogen, leading on photocatalytic approaches
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/projects/hydrogen-production/energy-briefing-green-hydrogen....
 
Description UK lead on Mission Innovation Sunlight Conversion challenge
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
URL http://mission-innovation.net/our-work/innovation-challenges/converting-sunlight/
 
Description Supergen Solar Network+
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S000763/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 06/2022
 
Description SFN-FOTOFUEL 
Organisation Vitaflo International
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The SFN has agreed to support and advertise FOTOFUEL events and activities. Specifically, the SFN will provide travel bursaries to UK-based PhD students and post-docs (who are SFN members) to attend FOTOFUEL meetings, workshops and training programmes on solar fuels and artificial photosynthesis.
Collaborator Contribution The SFN does not have the resources to organise its own training (summer/winter) schools. FOTOFUEL is organising a summer school for PhD students and post-docs working in the areas of solar fuels and artificial photosynthesis, to be held in Majorca in May 2016. UK-based PhD students/post-docs who are members of the SFN will be allowed to attend the FOTOFUEL summer school.
Impact Summer school (May 2016): catalysis, photochemistry/physics, solid state physics, electrochemistry, sustainable fuels, solar energy, hydrogen generation, CO2 utilisation.
Start Year 2016
 
Description SFN-SOFI 
Organisation Solar Fuels Institute (SOFI)
Country United States 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution The Solar Fuels Network supports and advertises SOFI events and activities. The SFN provides travel bursaries for UK-based PhD students and post-docs (who are members of the SFN) to attend SOFI events, such as workshops, conferences and summer schools. The SFN advertises SOFI events and activities in SFN newsletters and on the SFN website.
Collaborator Contribution SOFI advertises and supports SFN events and activities. The SFN does not have the resources to organise a training (summer/winter) school; SOFI is organising and entrepreneurial summer school (August 2016, USA) that a number of SFN members will be allowed to attend.
Impact The SFN and SOFI co-organised a collaboration kick-start workshop at the Gordon Solar Fuels Conference (January 2014), to promote UK-USA collaborations.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Activity sheets - experiments for home and school 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Solar Fuels Network has information about solar fuels and artificial photosynthesis, providing background information and educational materials suitable for the general public. There are three downloadable activity sheets: "Water Electrolysis", "Chlorophyll Extraction from Leaves" and "Make Your Own Spectroscope". These explain how to do an activity related to solar fuels research, using cheap and easily obtainable materials and tools. There is a theory section for each activity, suitable for GCSE and A-level science students. These activity sheets can be used for classroom-based learning, as well as at home. They are freely available to download from the website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/education/
 
Description Annual UK Solar Fuels Symposia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The SFN organises an annual one-day symposium in January each year, held in different places around the UK, to bring together the UK solar fuels/artificial photosynthesis community. These meetings typically attract close to 100 attendees, and both established and early career researchers have the opportunity to present their work. These symposia provide UK researchers with the opportunity to network with others in the field, promoting collaboration and co-operation. We have been successful in attracting sponsorship of these events from scientific publishers and chemicals/equipment companies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/events-archive/
 
Description Challenges & Opportunities in Solar-Driven Fuels Synthesis: Materials & Molecular Design 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop was organised with the support of the Royal Society of Chemistry in recognition of the award of three RSC prizes in 2013 to academics working in the field of solar fuels. This event complemented the RSC's "Chemistry in Energy" Awards Symposium. Speakers: James Barber (Imperial College; Interdisciplinary Prize 2013); Robert Crabtree (Yale University; Centenary Prize 2013); Toni Llobet (ICIQ); Chris Pickett (University of East Anglea); Erwin Reisner (University of Cambridge); Mike Wasielewski (Northwestern University; Environment Prize 2013).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/events-archive/
 
Description Imperial Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A stand with a solar energy/solar fuels theme has been presented by SFN members at the Imperial Festival for three years. Postgraduate students and post-docs engage with Festival participants about their research into solar energy conversion. The Festival is open to stakeholders, undergrad and postgrad students, staff and alumni of Imperial College, as well as the general public. Several thousand people attend each Festival, which is held over a weekend in May each year. As well as raising the profile of solar fuels research with other researchers and the general public, these activities also enthuse the public and school students about science, and encourage students to study science at university.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015,2016,2017
 
Description International Discussion Meeting - Solar Fuels: Moving from Materials to Devices 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This international conference, organised by the SFN, was held at the Royal Society in London on 7th and 8th July 2015, and was preceded by an Early Career Researchers' Symposium at Imperial College London on 6th July. Chaired by Prof James Barber FRS (Imperial College London) and co-chaired by Prof Harry Gray FRS (Caltech), this conference brought together the international artificial photosynthesis community to discuss the challenges of and possible pathways to a working solar fuels device. Presentations from world-leading researchers in this field were each followed by plenty of time for discussion. A poster session allowed early career researchers to present their work. An afternoon panel discussion with open-floor question and answer session on the question What will be the role of solar-derived fuels in meeting CO2 reduction commitments? featured contributions from Dame Mary Archer DBE, Prof Harry Gray FRS, Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS, Lord Robert May FRS, Prof Daniel Nocera, and Sir John Meurig Thomas FRS. The panel discussion session and Prof Nocera's talk were filmed and are available to watch on the Energy Futures Lab channel on Youtube. There were 135 attendees at the International Discussion Meeting, with 38 posters presented, and 80 attendees at the Early Career Researchers' Symposium, 31 of whom presented posters and 11 of whom gave oral presentations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/news/international-discussion-meeting-solar-fuels-moving-from-materials...
 
Description Joint SFN-SuperSolar Supergen symposium: "Materials for Solar Energy Conversion" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The first joint Solar Fuels Network-SuperSolar Supergen Hub symposium took place on 26th April 2017 at Imperial College London. The Symposium featured several invited speakers, focusing on Materials for Solar Energy Conversion. The event was chaired by Profs Jenny Nelson (Imperial College), Erwin Reisner (Cambridge University and now SFN Director) and Mike Walls (Loughborough University and Director of the SuperSolar Supergen).

The aim of the meeting was to bring together the UK PV and Solar Fuels/Artificial Photosynthesis communities. This provided the opportunity for researchers to discuss shared interests around the fundamentals of materials for solar energy conversion.

Academics from across the UK gave invited talks: Prof Erwin Reisner, Dr Elizabeth Gibson (Newcastle University), Prof James Durrant (Imperial College and original SFN Director), Prof Andy Cooper (Liverpool University), Prof Neil Robertson (Edinburgh University), Prof David Fermin (Bristol University), Prof Jenny Nelson, Prof Mark van Schilfgaarde (KCL) and Prof Upul Wijayantha (Loughborough University).Around 120 students, postdocs, and academics attended the symposium, representing both the SFN and SuperSolar Hub. Over 30 posters were presented by postdocs and PhD students from across the UK. Congratulations to Georgina Hutton (PhD student, Cambridge University) for winning the poster competition, and to Wai-Yu Sit (PhD student at Imperial College) and Ellie Tanaka (PhD student at the University of Edinburgh) for winning the runner-up prizes!

From the end of April 2017, the SFN has entered an exciting new phase, in partnership with SuperSolar. Many thanks are due to James Durrant for his leadership, engagement and vision during his directorship of the SFN. We are delighted that Erwin Reisner is now taking the SFN forward into the future!
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/news/first-sfn-supersolar-symposium/
 
Description Materials for Solar-Driven Fuels Synthesis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This meeting was a satellite meeting to the (invitation only) Royal Society Discussion Meeting "Do we need a global artificial photosynthesis project?" The satellite meeting provided an opportunity for a much wider audience, including early-career researchers, to hear talks by some of the international speakers invited to the Kavli meeting, as well as those from leading UK researchers. International speakers included: Daniel Nocera (Harvard University); Can Li (Dalian Institute for Chemical Physics); Peidong Yang (UCL Berkeley); Kyung Byung Yoon (Sogang University); Lianzhou Wang (University of Queensland). In addition, the SFN (in conjunction with the Royal Society) ran an essay competition for PhD students; 5 prize-winners won the opportunity to attend the prestigious Royal Society discussion meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/events-archive/
 
Description Oxfordshire Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A set of activities relating to Solar Fuels was presented at the History of Science Museum, Oxford, as part of the Oxfordshire Science Festival. On the first day, groups of secondary school students and their teachers took part in the activities. On the second day, the activities were open to the general public. The activities and presenters engaged the students' and participants' interest in science, natural photosynthesis, and renewable energy. School pupils had increased interest in science subjects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Post-Graduate Solar Fuels Symposium at ISACS12 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This one-day workshop, held prior to the RSC conference ISACS12: Challenges in Chemical Renewable Energy in Cambridge in September 2014, gave PhD students and postdocs attending the main conference the opportunity to present their work on addressing the challenge of utilising sunlight to drive the synthesis of fuels. As the first event organised by the Solar Fuels Network after its formation, this meeting was instrumental in bringing together the solar fuels and artificial photosynthesis research community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/events-archive/
 
Description Quarterly Solar Fuels Network Newsletters - for SFN members 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact All members receive a quarterly newsletter containing information about upcoming SFN events; reports from early-career researchers who have received SFN outreach, travel, and bilateral exchange bursaries; adverts for post-doc or PhD positions in solar fuels; and a list of upcoming conferences and symposia of interest to the community. The newsletters content is also archived on the website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/newsletters/
 
Description SOFI-SFN Collaboration Initiating Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This workshop was convened with the aim of initiating discussions between SOFI/SFN members on potential collaborative projects, and was held during the Gordon Research Conference on Solar Fuels, California, in January 2014. During the workshop, attendees began planning joint research proposals with new collaborative partners for SFN/SOFI funding.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/events-archive/
 
Description Semiconductor Photochemistry & Solar Fuels Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This joint Solar Fuels Network-Semiconductor Photochemistry Network Workshop was held at Imperial College London on 1st April 2015, chaired by Prof Andrew Mills (Semiconductor Photochemistry Network) and Prof Jason Riley (SFN). This symposium brought together members of the two networks to listen to talks from established and early-career researchers, and take part in lively poster discussions. There were 100 attendees, 14 talks and 13 posters.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/events-archive/
 
Description Short animated film about Artificial Photosynthesis: "Reisner lab: Artificial Photosynthesis (in LEGO)" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Members of Erwin Reisner's group (University of Cambridge) used video equipment purchased with a Solar Fuels Network Outreach Bursary to crease a stop-frame animation explaining Artificial Photosynthesis. The video explains the background and motivation for solar fuels research, the advantages of solar-driven renewable fuels, and the basic concepts. The video is available on YouTube and has been viewed over 5300 times in the first 12 months. The video is linked from the Reisner group website, and was widely publicised by both the Solar Fuels Network and the Solar Fuels Institute. The YouTube page also links to the Reisner group's website, directing the general public towards more specific information about artificial photosynthesis/solar fuels research being undertaken currently in the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqZmgoG7M2Q
 
Description Short film introducing Solar Fuels 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Solar Fuels Network provided an outreach bursary to SFN members (PhD students and post-docs) in Erwin Reisner's group (University of Cambridge) to buy a video camera. The video camera was used to make a short film introducing the concept of solar fuels, and the research done in the group, called "Reisner Lab - Introduction to Solar Fuels". The film is available to view on Youtube and has been viewed over 3,500 times. The purpose was to raise awareness amongst the general public of the field of solar fuels and the potential for this research to generate new renewable energy technologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgLmo-bzDaE
 
Description Solar Fuels Network Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The SFN's website, www.solarfuelsnetwork.com, is the public face of the Solar Fuels Network. This modern, mobile-device friendly site is a platform for announcing news and events, as well as providing background information about solar fuels and educational materials suitable for the general public. It is also an avenue through which people can apply for Network membership, and register for events. Reports from early career researchers who have benefited from SFN outreach, bilateral exchange or travel bursaries are archived on the website, as are details of past events, and the Hydrogen Production webinar.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.solarfuelsnetwork.com
 
Description Solar Fuels Research Priorities Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In January 2015, the SFN held a research priorities workshop, mediated by John Conti-Ramsden and Gabriela Salejova (Knowledge Transfer Network), to discuss the challenges and opportunities for the UK in solar-driven fuels research. The goals of the workshop were: 1) to articulate a shared vision of the global science need to enable commercialisation of solar fuels technologies; 2) to determine what the key opportunities are for the UK research and technology innovation in this field; 3) to articulate a recommendation to the EPSRC and other funding/policy bodies on motivation and priorities for UK solar to fuels research. Attendees included SFN advisory board members, plus other academics in related fields, and representatives from the RSC, the Bioenergy Supergen, energy consultancies, and a commercial solar energy firm.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/events-archive/
 
Description Symposium: Polymer Photocatalysts for Solar Fuels Synthesis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact University College London and the Solar Fuels Network jointly organised a two-day workshop at University College London on 13th and 14th April 2016. The aim of this workshop was to bring together the more traditional "inorganic" solar fuels researchers and the "organic electronics" research community. The workshop focused on polymer photocatalysts in the widest sense of the word (e.g. conjugated polymers, carbon nitride, graphene oxide) and their application in photocatalytic water splitting and CO2 reduction. The symposium brought together people working on these materials from a wide range of perspectives: material synthesis and characterisation, photocatalyst testing, transient spectroscopy and theory, as well people working on similar materials but for different applications (e.g. organic photovoltaics). All with the aim of moving the field forward by discussing the challenges and opportunities offered by polymer photocatalysts.
The symposium included invited talks from:
Lotsch group (Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart, Germany)
Zhang group (Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz, Germany)
Sivula group (EPFL, Laussanne, Switzerland)
Cooper group (University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)
Tang group (University College London, London, UK)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/event/workshop-on-polymer-photocatalysts-for-solar-fuels-synthesis/
 
Description Talks at The Institute for Education 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Stephanie Pendlebury, Project Manager of the Solar Fuels Network, has given three talks (each to audiences of about 1000 A-level chemistry students and their teachers) at the Institute for Education (UCL). The talk title was "Materials Chemistry to Save the World", and covered materials chemistry in renewable energy applications, with a particular emphasis on solar fuels. The audience was encourage to ask questions throughout the talk. The talk raised the profile of this research area with chemistry students and their teachers, and encouraged students to consider how chemistry has an impact on the technology in their everyday lives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description UK-Japan Bilateral Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This first UK-Japan bilateral meeting aimed to connect UK and Japanese academics/researchers interested in developing bilateral collaborations. Organised by Prof Kazunari Domen (University of Tokyo), Dr Junwang Tang (UCL) and Dr Erwin Reisner (University of Cambridge), this workshop was held in Tokyo, 16-17 September 2014, with financial support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Following on from the highly successful 1st UK-Japan Solar Fuels meeting, a follow-up meeting took place on 23-24 June 2016 (also at the British Embassy in Tokyo). This opened up the event to more researchers (particularly more junior academics, who presented posters), both from the UK and Japan, and provided the opportunity for further UK-Japan collaborations to be established. The second meeting had financial support from the FCO, Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation (in addition to the Solar Fuels Network). It was organised by Dr Junwang Tang (UCL), Prof Osamu Ishitani (Tokyo Institute of Technology), Prof Akihiko Kudo (Tokyo University of Science) and Dr Erwin Reisner (University of Cambridge). In addition to technical scientific talks and discussions, discussions on opportunities for joint proposals and student/postdoc exchange schemes were held.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2016
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/events-archive/
 
Description Webinar: Hydrogen Production using Solar Energy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Webinar: "Hydrogen Production using Solar Energy" by Dr Anna Hankin and Prof Geoff Kelsall (Imperial College London), hosted by the Knowledge Transfer Network (20th January 2015). Comparing 'electrolyser-powered-by-photo-voltaics 'and 'photo-electrochemical' systems for H2 production by splitting H2O with solar energy
Abstract:
Combustion of hydrogen produces only water, making it an attractive energy carrier for the future, providing it can be produced by routes other than by reforming natural gas, the present predominant industrial route, as it emits carbon dioxide. Is it feasible to use solar energy to generate hydrogen in the UK? What technologies can enable this presently? How much hydrogen may be produced and how could it be used? These and other questions relating to the expansion of solar energy use in the UK will be addressed in this webinar.
Hydrogen can be produced from solar energy today by coupling photo-voltaic devices, which convert solar to electrical energy, with electrolysers that use this electrical energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. However, does the use of land for photo-voltaic arrays for hydrogen production by this means justify the rates at which it can be generated realistically?
Photo-electrochemical systems are a potential alternative to the existing technologies, combining photon-to-electron and electron-to-hydrogen conversions in a single device, but are still the subject of research and are not available industrially.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://solarfuelsnetwork.com/event/webinar-hydrogen-production/
 
Description Youth in Science Summer Camp 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Five members of the Solar Fuels Network planned and delivered a week-long science training camp for secondary school students in Spain, on the theme of Solar Energy. There were 10-12 school pupils on each camp. The camp encouraged students to ask questions and promoted discussion about science and renewable energy. Students had an increased interest in science and were more likely to study science at university.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015