This post is contributed by Joe Donnelly.
During September a trio of CSCT students (Myself, Jonathan Wagner and David Miles) attended Challenges in Chemical Renewable Energy (ISACS17), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The 12 hour flight from Heathrow was a relatively pleasant affair, despite a lady sat next to me enjoying a 12 hour headphone techno marathon - something which would have been annoying if it was not so impressive. We went appropriately packed for sun, sea and sand, ready to hit Copacabana. Although Dave had forgotten his flip flops this was easily remedied owing to the many flip flop vendors in the area - however, Rio had apparently been saving all of its cloud and rain for our arrival- alas the bottom fell out of our plans (and the bag containing Dave's new flip flops). But after all, we are British and unless we were going to need a dinghy to get to the beach front bars, it was going to happen. When we were not at the conference or supporting the local beachfront economy, we found some time to go and see Christ the Redeemer and a few other local attractions.
The conference was attended by around 100 people from a range of backgrounds/disciplines making for an interesting mix. The small size of the conference also allowed for conversation opportunities with most of the presenters. Research topics focussed on upgrading of bio-derived resources- something which I was personally attending for, and also many interesting talks on solar fuels and photovoltaics. It was interesting to see these different disciplines being discussed in the same stream as each other and led to interesting discussions about where exactly each of the technologies would fit in the future energy mix. The conference was concluded by a panel discussion on this very issue, and included representatives from industry, academia and government.
Overall the conference was a valuable experience, with the opportunity to talk to some leaders in the field without them being whisked away to prearranged meetings after their talks. It is worth noting however that there was only one stream, and due to the relatively diverse nature of topics on show, not all talks were of particular relevance to any one person.
Joe is working towards his PhD on "(Bio)catalytic synthesis of a novel transport fuel substitute from industrially produced ferementation products" with Dr Chris Chuck, Dr Marcelle McManus and Dr Chris Bannister.
In October 2014, CSCT students David Miles, Stephen Wood and Jemma Rowlandson attended the 1st Bath-Yonsei International Workshop on Energy, Environment and Sustainability.
On 16th – 17th October the 1st Bath-Yonsei International Workshop on Energy, Environment and Sustainability took place at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. A delegation of academics and postgraduates from Bath attended the workshop. This workshop was a continuation of the strong ties between the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies in Bath, and the Global E3 Institute at Yonsei University. The workshop intended to showcase state-of-the-art research from leading academics of both institutions, and to explore potential joint collaborations, particularly in the areas of energy, environment and sustainability.
Workshop participants at Yonsei University
The workshop began with opening remarks from both Prof. Heonjin Choi and Prof. Aron Walsh, who introduced the importance of international collaboration, and in particular the field of sustainability. A series of technical lectures were given by academics from both institutions. These commenced with a lecture by Prof. Hansung Kim of Yonsei University, who presented a new synthetic method to prevent a reduction in catalyst surface area of carbon-supported Pt during heat treatment. This was followed by Bath’s own Dr. Valeska Ting who presented current research on the characterisation, modelling and use of nanoporous materials for use in a wide variety of sustainable energy applications. There were many excellent presentations from both institutions on a wide variety of areas, from solar cells and nanofabrication to the synthesis of fine chemicals from renewable resources. The penultimate talk was given by Prof. Chris Bowen, giving an excellent insight into current research on piezoelectric materials and devices. Piezoelectrics is an interesting area that is not highlighted often enough, which has very real industrial and commercial applications.
University of Bath delegation at Yonsei University
In addition to the lectures a poster session and flash presentations were performed by PhD students from Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, and postdoctoral researchers from the Walsh Materials Design group. The lecture series and small group discussions have led to several potential research collaborations between Bath and Yonsei academics. The students would like to give a special thanks to their Korean hosts, especially Prof. Aloysius Soon and his group for their hospitality during our stay. We were shown a few sights around Seoul, including a beautiful Korean teahouse, and were introduced to several types of traditional cuisine.
Bath delegates with members of Prof. Aloysius Soon's Materials Theory group at the Yonsei Tea Museum
On 21-25th April 2014, DTC student David Miles presented his research at the Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting held in San Francisco, USA. Attendance of the conference was funded in part due to a successful £750 grant application to the Royal Society of Chemistry. This is his report.
Once a year researchers from across the world descend on San Francisco to hear the latest results in the field of materials science and technology. The MRS Spring Meeting is comprised of 57 parallel symposia over 5 days, covering a huge range of materials research from battery technology to biomaterials. With around 6,000 attendees the conference was an exciting place to share my latest research results as well as see some of the leading academics in my research field.
My oral presentation, titled “Dye-sensitized solar cells using anodized ZnO nanowires”, was presented within the Inorganic and Organic Materials for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells symposium and was well received by the audience. In addition to hearing about the latest research in the field of solar energy I managed to attend talks on new energy storage technologies and on everyone’s favourite nanomaterial, graphene.
Overall, the conference was a great experience and I came away from it with new research ideas and new connections from institutions around the world. Thanks must be given to the Royal Society of Chemistry Materials Division who generously provided me with a £750 international travel grant to attend this conference.
David is in the second year of his PhD, supervised by Dr Davide Mattia (Chemical Engineering) & Dr Petra Cameron (Chemistry).
In September, David Miles and Lisa Sargeant travelled to Imperial College London for the annual Energy Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) Network conference. The aim of this conference was to enable students from the various different energy-related CDTs to present their research and hear about some of the latest research across the field of energy.
The talks spanned a wide range of areas related to energy, from nuclear fusion to the energy efficiency of hospital buildings. David Miles presented in the Renewable Energy session of the conference, talking about his research on nanomaterials for dye-sensitized solar cells. Lisa Sargeant also represented the CSCT by presenting a poster titled “Waste to wealth: cultivating renewable lipids from the oleaginous yeast, Rhodotorula glutinis”.
Making an unusual addition during the talks, graphic facilitator Eleanor Beer transformed the presentations into cartoons. She created four different pieces, each representing one of the conference’s four themes: Renewable Energy, Efficiency & CO2 Reduction, Energy Storage & Systems, and Nuclear. A number of talks were also given by some of the MSc students from the Energy Futures lab based within Imperial College London.
The cartoon summaries of the talks can be seen below courtesy of Eleanor Beer and the Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training.
Nuclear energy (Copyright Ellen Beer)
Energy storage (Copyright Ellen Beer)
David Miles presents his research
Four DTC students recently participated in a three-day energy themed business competition organised for postgraduate researchers in the EPSRC-funded Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training.
Lee Burton, David Miles, Lisa Sargeant and Kathryn Wills represented our DTC to compete against nine other teams at the Energy Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (Energy YES) which took place in Edinburgh on 22-24 May. The scheme was created to develop business awareness and an understanding of entrepreneurship amongst researchers.
Over the three days there were presentations and case studies from leading business and industry figures which covered a range of topics around entrepreneurship, commercialisation and technology transfer. In addition to these sessions, the teams also spent a large part of the week devising a 5-year business plan for a new business idea related to an energy technology.
Mentors from a variety of backgrounds with experience spanning the energy sector and start-up businesses were on hand to offer advice and the week culminated with an oral business plan presentation to a group of potential investors.
Although it was the team from the Midlands Energy Graduate School who were ultimately successful, our students all agreed that the workshop was a very useful experience for learning business skills and an excellent opportunity for networking with the other Energy CDTs and energy-sector professionals.
Team CSCT at work
Team CSCT presenting
Photos 1 & 2 reproduced with permission from the Energy CDT Network.