6th Solar2Chem Training Workshop – EPFL, Switzerland

The Solar2Chem 6th training workshop took place at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) from the 22nd to the 24th of May 2023 and it dealt with engineering photoelectrochemical devices and entrepreneurship.

Prof. Sophia Haussener, leader of the Laboratory of Renewable Energy Science and Engineering (LRESE) at EPFL and host of the workshop, started the workshop showing the work of her group about modelling and engineering of photoelectrochemical reactors at multiple scales. Prof. Anna Hankin from the Electrochemical Systems Laboratory at Imperial College then underlined important considerations while up-scaling solar to fuels devices. EPFL alumnus Dr. Saurabh Tembhurne presented his company SoHHytech and his entrepreneurial perspective to commercialize solar chemicals. In the afternoon, Dr. Juliane Sauer from Oxygeneum lead an interactive session about writing research proposals; Solar2Chem project is almost over and this was the opportunity for the ESRs to learn how to kickstart a scientific career and succeed in proposal-writing. To conclude, the group visited LRESE laboratory facilities and the world-record solar dish for solar hydrogen production recently presented on Nature Energy.

The second day of the workshop was dedicated to the presentations of the ESRs, the last moment to share the achieved results before Solar2Chem conference in Tarragona.

The conclusive day was opened by Prof. Thomas Maschmeyer from the University of Sidney, which presented examples of successes and failures in the technology translation. Dr. Huyen Dinh from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) showed the best practices in materials characterization and benchmarking. Dr. Jelena Stojadinovic from Membrasenz presented the technology at the base of her start up illustrating membranes in electrochemical cells for production of green hydrogen and green chemicals. Prof. Mohamed Mamlouk from the University of Newcastle then gave an overview about challenges and opportunities for renewable ocean fuels. Dr. Stafford Sheehan finally concluded narrating the experience of his company Air Co. and how he scaled-up his thermocatalytic reactor for producing sustainable fuels from carbon dioxide, water and renewable electricity.

The last Solar2Chem training workshop was a great success and a lot of lessons about modelling, engineering, scale up and entrepreneurship were learnt from the incredible line up of speakers we had.