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 21-23 May 2014, a team of PhD students from the CSCT took part in Energy YES, a national competition giving students the opportunity to learn about business and entrepreneurship through mentoring, workshops and pitching a business idea to a panel of "Dragons Den" style judges. PhD student Emily Hayward brings us this description of how she and the rest of Team CSCT won the top prize.
Stephen Wood, Heather Parker, Jon Wagner, Will Mahy and myself took part in the Energy YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme) competition based at Alstom’s site in Rugby. The event lasted 3 days and over this time we had the opportunity to meet students from other energy related DTCs, hear from entrepreneurs about their experience setting up an SME (small and medium enterprises) and receive mentoring from a range of business experts.
Before the event we researched areas of technology where there is a gap in the market but research to fill it is still ongoing. After looking at a number of different options we decided we would look at composite materials to make lightweight shipping containers allowing a huge reduction in fuel requirements. We got the idea from the sustainable development course we did during the MRes year and looked at plausible technologies which could be used for this.
While at the event we conducted more in depth research business plan, with the help of various mentors and came up with our company “Absol Composites” based on this. There were a lot of things we had to consider, including the scientific theory of our design, financing, marketing strategies, risk analysis and IP. Each of the presenters and mentors were very helpful and we were able to gain an insight as to how to be successful, as well as hearing of businesses which have struggled to go from the R&D to full scale production. Over the 3 days our idea began to take shape with issues we needed to consider being highlighted to us.
The competition was tough with other groups presenting very strong ideas and business cases, therefore it was a real surprise to win! It was really interesting to hear the ideas other groups had and see how they had taken on board the training we were given. Along with winning a very nice trophy, we now have the opportunity to compete in the Engineering YES final in mid-June.
All Energy YES 2014 participants
Team CSCT with their prizes
Team CSCT and the judges
Team CSCT hard at work
Steve pitches the big idea
A room full of participants
Team CSCT relax at the barbecue
The RSC Solid State Group Easter Meeting was organised by Professor Aron Walsh (University of Bath) and Dr David Scanlon (UCL) and was held at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre in Chicheley between 14-16 April 2014. This post was contributed by 2nd-year research student Jessica Bristow.
The meeting was attended by both staff and students researching solid-state materials for energy generation, storage and conversion. Over three days multiple topics were addressed including: catalysis, battery technology, photovoltaics, fuel cells and photocatalysis.
One particular personal highlight was the talk by Professor Richard Catlow of UCL who gave a general overview of progress made in the area of solid-state modelling and catalysis. He highlighted the importance of not just trusting published data and that all available computational techniques should be used in cooperatively finding a solution, rather than trusting an individual method.
The meeting also included three excellent talks from Steven Wood, Adam Jackson and Mako Ng, studying in the DTC for Sustainable Chemical Technologies.
Steven spoke about potential materials for sodium ion batteries as an alternative to the current lithium ion batteries. Steven employs molecular mechanics as a means to theoretically predict material properties for a given application.
Adam and Mako both spoke about CZTS, a material composed of copper, zinc, tin and sulphur. CZTS is a popular future photovoltaic material with the potential to be a more sustainable choice for devices to capture the suns energy and convert this to electricity. Adam gave an overview of calculations he has conducted on CZTS, while Mako presented his experimental work synthesising large crystals of the material.
- Steven Wood is supervised by Professor Saiful Islam (Chemistry) and co-supervised by Dr Tim Mays (Chemical Engineering);
- Adam Jackson is supervised by Professor Aron Walsh (Chemistry) and co-supervised by Professor Laurie Peter (Chemistry) and Dr Darrell Patterson (Chemical Engineering);
- Mako Ng is supervised by Professor Mark Weller and co-supervised by Professor Aron Walsh and Dr Philip Shields (Electrical & Electronic Engineering);
- Jessica Bristow is supervised by Professor Aron Walsh and co-supervised by Dr Valeska Ting (Chemical Engineering).
The RSC Solid State Group Christmas Meeting is an annual event which aims to bring together UK researchers from topics across issues relating to solid state materials. Of particular relevance to the DTC is the strong energy contingent of this research, including solar cells, batteries, thermoelectrics and solid oxide fuel cells. The 2013 meeting took place at the University of Bath and several DTC students (including Stephen Wood, Adam Jackson and Jess Bristow) attended.
On 18–19 December the University of Bath played host to the 33rd annual Christmas Meeting of the Royal Society of Chemistry Solid State Chemistry Group. Chaired this year by Professor Mark Weller and organised by a cohort of Bath academics and students, the meeting is traditionally very open and relaxed with a significant student contribution. The meeting also aimed to showcase the breadth and depth of the world class solid state research being conducted across the UK and includes topics covering energy materials, catalysis and solid state synthesis. Being located in Bath this year there was a strong DTC presence, including students supervised by Professors Islam, Walsh and Parker. Also in attendance were representatives from SHARP, one of our industrial partners.
On view was the significant UK contribution to both experimental and computational research of solid state systems. This was typified by the three excellent plenary speakers who covered topics ranging from multiscale modelling of solid oxide fuel cell materials (Professor Graeme Watson, Dublin) through experimental studies of lithium ion batteries (Professor Christian Masquelier, Picardie, France) to unusual phenomena of oxygen in oxide materials (Professor Tony West, Sheffield).
The University of Bath was represented in oral presentations by John Clark (PhD student in Professor Islam’s battery group) who gave a well-received overview of the computational modelling of Li-ion batteries and their application to energy storage. The oral presentations were particularly appropriate to DTC students working in energy materials fields including a selection of talks on thermoelectrics, solid oxide fuel cells and batteries. Solar cell research on the other hand made a significant showing in the poster session meaning there was something for all the DTC students who attended.
Overall the meeting provided an excellent venue for DTC students to discuss current work in solid state research with over 150 researchers from across the UK and beyond. This was particularly useful for students working in energy materials fields. It also allowed several DTC students to get involved with the organisation and running of a conference; a valuable piece of experience for future endeavours.
The RSC Solid State Group Easter Meeting is coming up on 14–16 April.