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Advanced catalytic materials for (photo)electrochemical energy conversion

Catalysts are widely used to lower thermodynamic barriers and accelerate kinetics of reactions in many (photo)electrochemical energy conversion processes. The past few years have witnessed a rapid growth in catalytic materials research. This symposium aims to bring together researchers who are interested in, and actively working on, catalytic materials and processes for use in (photo)electrochemical energy conversion.


With the ever-growing deployment of renewable energy and the needs for load-levelling, rapid inter-conversion of electrical energy to chemical energy and vice versa provides an attractive solution to off-peak renewable energy storage and utilization. Using electrolyzers, water can be split producing hydrogen fuels that are clean and high-density energy carriers. Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting using semiconductor photoelectrodes, including multi-junction architectures, offers a straightforward and potentially efficient means of hydrogen production, though formidable challenges for stable and un-assisted water splitting still remain and practical deployment of PEC cells may take a few decades. Electro-fuels, i.e. chemicals produced by electrolyzers, have recently provoked increasing interest: a great deal of work on electrocatalytic and photoelecatalytic CO2 reduction has been reported, and electrosynthesis of ammonia has lately emerged as an alternative to the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process. As far as fuel cells are concerned, several European countries have announced a timetable for stopping the production and sales of petrol and diesel powered cars. This will open up a huge market for fuel-cell powered vehicles.

    To achieve high conversion efficiency, the use of catalysts in (photo)electrolyzers and fuel cells is essential. Remarkable progress has been made in recent years towards the development of new catalytic materials, with particular emphasis on the substitution, either partially or completely, of precious noble metals. Recent advances in in-operando characterization techniques, as well as in theoretical approaches to the prediction of activity trends and catalyst screening allow for fundamental understanding of catalytic mechanisms and processes and rational design of efficient and durable catalytic materials. 

    This symposium will provide a platform for researchers working on catalytic materials to showcase and learn about the latest findings in this fast-growing field of research. The symposium covers, but is not limited to, both experimental and theoretical studies of advanced catalytic materials that can find applications in fuel cells and electrolyzers of different types. Contributions to the system design of these (photo)electrochemical energy conversion devices are also welcome.

Hot topics to be covered by the symposium

  • Water splitting and fuel cell catalysts
  • Semiconductor materials including multijunctional/hybrid photoelectrodes
  • Electrochemical and solar-driven CO2 reduction
  • Catalytic materials for electro-fuel and chemical (e.g. methanol, ammonia) synthesis
  • 2D materials for (photo)electrocatalysis
  • Bi-functional and multi-functional electrocatalysts
  • Reduction/replacement of critical metals by nano-design of abundant materials
  • Theoretical and experimental approaches to catalyst screening and design
  • Advanced characterization techniques (in particular in-operando) of photoelectrodes and catalysts
  • Theoretical studies and computational modeling of catalytic mechanisms/processes

List of invited speakers (in alphabetical order):

  • Christian Hess – Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany
  • Foteini Sapountzi – Syngaschem BV, The Netherlands
  • Gongxuan Lu – Lanzhou Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Hua Zhang – National University of Singapore, Singapore/City University of Hong Kong
  • Ib Chorkendorff – Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
  • Jingshan Luo – Nankai University, China
  • Juan Ramon Morante – Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), Spain
  • Ki Tae Nam – Seoul National University, South Korea
  • Laasonen Kari – Aalto University, Finland
  • M. M. Shaijumon – Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Thiruvananthapuram, India
  • Neil V. Rees – University of Birmingham, UK
  • Xiangdong Yao – Griffith University, Australia
  • Wolfram Jaegermann – Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany

List of scientific committee members (in alphabetical order):

  • Andy Wain – National Physical Laboratory, UK
  • Enrico Andreoli – Swansea University, UK
  • Grzegorz D. Sulka – Jagiellonian University, Poland
  • Hangxun Xu – University of Science and Technology of China, China
  • Ifan Stephens – Imperial College London, UK
  • Marc Heggan – Forschungszentrum Juelich, Germany
  • Mihalis Tsampas – Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER), The Netherlands
  • Mingkui Wang – Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
  • Salvador Eslava, University of Bath, UK
  • Xiaojun Wu – University of Science and Technology of China, China
  • Yujie Xiong – University of Science and Technology of China, China
  • Yung-Jung Hsu – National Chiao-Tung University, Taiwan
  • Yury V. Kolen’ko – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Portugal

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Symposium organizers
1 Lifeng LIUInternational Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL)

Av. Mestre Jose Veiga, s/n 4715-330 Braga, Portugal
2 Richard E. PALMERSwansea University

Bay Campus, Fabian Way, Swansea, SA1 8EN, U.K.
3. Vladimir SMIRNOVForschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

Institute for Energy and Climate Research - 5 (IEK-5), Wilhelm-Johnen-Strasse, 52425 Juelich, Germany
4. Li SONGUniversity of Science & Technology of China

National Synchrotron Radiation Lab, 42 Hezuohua Road, Hefei Anhui 230029, China