Solar Fuels Network Newsletter
Issue 2, March 2014


Steph Pendlebury, SFN Project Manager, Imperial College London      

Dear SFN members,

Welcome to the second Solar Fuels Network newsletter! Inside are reports from members about recent solar fuels symposia, conference and winter schools. There is also information about the SFN workshop “Challenges and Opportunities for Solar-Driven Fuels Synthesis: Materials and Molecular Design” on 3rd April, and our next outreach event, at the Oxfordshire Science Festival in March.  If you have any items you would like to be published in the next newsletter, please email them to me (; this is a great opportunity for students to publish short articles about events that they have taken part in. Please do invite any colleagues, students or collaborators (from academia or industry) who work in solar fuels and closely related research areas to join the Network:

We are delighted to invite you to this SFN workshop. The workshop is being organized with the support of the Royal Society of Chemistry in recognition of the award of three RSC prizes this year to academics working in the field of solar fuels.
This workshop is free to attend but membership of the Solar Fuels Network and registration in advance is required. Click here to register.


  • James Barber (Imperial College London, Interdisciplinary Prize 2013 Winner): “From Photosystem II to hematite for water splitting”
  • Robert Crabtree (Yale University; Centenary Prize 2013 Winner): “Cp*Ir water oxidation catalysts and hydroxamates as robust, conductive anchors for semiconductor oxide surfaces”
  • Toni Llobet (ICIQ, Spain): “Molecular water oxidation catalyst design”
  • Chris Pickett (University of East Anglea): “(Photo)electrosynthesis of ammonia and other small molecules”
  • Erwin Reisner (University of Cambridge): “Solar fuels generation with molecular catalysts self-assembled on semiconductors”
  • Mike Wasielewski (Northwestern University; Environment Prize 2013 Winner): “Using Photoexcited Organic Donor-Acceptor Ligands to Access Catalytic Intermediates in Hydrogen Evolution Catalysts”
For more information visit the SFN website.

Attendees may also wish to attend the RSC ‘Chemistry in Energy’ Awards Symposium being held the following day (4th April) at Burlington House, London.
We look forward to seeing you in April!

Overview of the Solar Fuels Network Symposium in Liverpool, January 2014 

Tuesday 14 January 2014 saw solar fuels researchers from all over the UK meet at the University of Liverpool’s Foresight Centre for the 2nd UK Solar Fuels Symposium. We’d like to thank Dr Alex Cowan and Prof Anthony Harriman for their excellent organisation of this exciting meeting. The SFN awarded several student travel bursaries; to read the students’ reports of the symposium click here. The next UK Solar Fuels Symposium will be held in Scotland in January 2015. 

Summer School 2014

Reactivity of Nanoparticles for More Efficient and Sustainable Energy Conversion III – Rising Technologies

Date: 10-15th August 2014
Venue: Conference Center Kobæk Strand, Denmark

  • Shannon W. Boetcher (US)
  • John Turner (US)
  • Ulrike Diebold (AT)
  • Thomas Jaramillo (US)
  • Eric McFarland (AU)
  • Xile Hu (CH)
  • Clemens Heske (DE)
  • Günther Ruppecter (AT)
  • Anders Nilsson (US)
  • Jeppe Vang Lauritsen (DK)
  • Beatriz Cuenya Roldan (DE)
  • Stig Helveg (DK)
  • Jens Nørskov (US)
  • Ulrich Heiz (DE)
  • Magnus Shoglundh (SE)
  • Marc Koper (NL)
  • Jan Rossmeisl (DK)
  • Yang Shao-Horn (US)
  • Vojislav Stamenkovic (US)
  • Andrea Russell (UK)
  • Peter Strasser (DE)
  • Jürgen Behm (DE)
  • Matthias Arenz (DK)
  • Yu Morimoto (JP)
  • Peter Ditlevsen (DK)
  • Henrik Svensmark (DK)
Registration from February 20, 2014 at

Molecular Catalysts and Devices for Photoinduced Water Splitting

Ken Sakai  (Kyushu University, Japan)

The UK Solar Fuels Network is sponsoring a Research Seminar at Newcastle University on March 17th at 3 pm. Tea and coffee will be available beforehand in the Faraday Room (Bedson Building).

Venue: Room 2.51 of the Bedson Building, Newcastle University
This seminar is free to attend and there are no registration formalities. 

For further information please contact Joanne Lakey (

Report: 2014 Renewable Energy: Solar Fuels Gordon Research Conference and Seminar

Andreas Bachmeier, University of Oxford

As appropriate for a scientific meeting on solar energy conversion, the 2014 Renewable Energy: Solar Fuels Gordon Research Conference and Seminar was held in sunny Ventura, California. For the first two days, early-career researchers, i.e. graduate students and post-doctoral scientists, came together for the Gordon Research Seminar. The aim of this meeting was to provide a platform for young researchers to present and exchange ideas in a stimulating, yet ‘protected’ environment without the sometimes intimidating presence of too many established PIs... Read more

Report on Gordon Research Conference and SFN-SOFI workshop, January 2014

Dr Stephanie Pendlebury, Imperial College London

The Gordon Research Seminar (for PhD students and post-docs) and Conference on Renewable Energy – Solar Fuels is a long-running, international conference series exploring new ideas and progress in generating chemical fuels from water and other renewable feedstocks using sunlight as the energy source.  Gordon conferences typically emphasise new, unpublished results, giving attendees a real snapshot on the most up-to-date understanding of a research area... Read more     

Reisner Lab - Introduction to Solar Fuels
with an introduction by Christopher Windle

Watch the video here.

The video describes the reasons why we need to carry out solar fuels research. It summarises why this should be possible from the perspective that plants can perform photosynthesis. We then touch on the concept of catalysts and how they relate to enzymes in nature. Finally we finish with a speedy tour of the lab to show real scientists doing real research towards solar fuels goals! Read more here.

Solar Fuels Stand at the Oxfordshire Science Festival

Friday 14th to Sunday 16th March
Museum of History of Science, Oxford

We are bringing our Solar Fuels stand to the Oxfordshire Science Festival and are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help us engage with visitors. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Steph Pendlebury or Rhiannon Evans. Our stand will be available for use as an educational resource for all members of the Solar Fuels Network so this is a great chance to see it in action and think about how you might use it for your own activities in future!

What do giant rubber gloves, gut bacteria, crystal structures, and photosynthesis have in common? We need all four to learn how to produce sustainable fuels using energy from the sun. Even if you don’t want to volunteer, please encourage your friends and family to visit our Solar Fuels stand to learn about green energy, extract chlorophyll from plants in a hands-on science experiment, touch incredible 3D printed models, chat with the scientists carrying out the research, compete with your friends in our glove box challenge, and take home their own solar fuel!

For more about the Oxfordshire Science Festival click here . Find out more about the stand by visiting our blog, watching our video podcasts and visiting our Royal Society Summer Exhibition website.

Report: Fusion Conference - Molecules and Materials for Artificial Photosynthesis
6 – 9 February 2014, Cancun, Mexico

Anna Reynal, Imperial College London

Sunlight and water, the essential components required in solar fuels, were found in Cancun during the conference Molecules and Materials for Artificial Photosynthesis, organised by Jin Zhang (University of California Santa Cruz) and Antoni Llobet (Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia). The conference, that took place between 6th and 9th of February 2014, offered a great opportunity to share the latest results between two big research areas in solar fuels: homogeneous catalysis and semiconductor photo-electrochemistry... Read more

"Light2Hydrogen" Symposium in Rostock

The group of Dr. Henrik Junge and Prof. Matthias Beller organizes the next Light2Hydrogen-Symposium with the topic "Sustainable Hydrogen and Fuels – Status and Perspectives" from May 14-16, 2014.

The Organizing Committee cordially invites scientists from both academia and industry to participate in the Symposium „Sustainable Hydrogen and Fuels – Status and Perspectives”. The symposium will provide a platform to bring scientists together to contribute to new solutions in the field of energy technologies. You are invited to present recent developments and discuss the actual status as well as future perspectives in this area. The program will consist of five plenary, nine keynote lectures as well as regular oral and poster presentations. Deadline for Submission of last-minute-posters: April 30, 2014.
Please click here to register.

2015 International Solar Fuels Conference
in Sweden

Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis

Time: April 26 - May 1, 2015
Place: Uppsala, Sweden

Topics include:
Photoelectrochemical and photobiological systems for solar fuel production
Material science for solar fuels
Photobioreactors and photoelectrochemical cells
Light harvesting and charge separation
Mechanisms for solar fuels
Metabolic engineering
Economy and public policy implications


Upcoming Solar Fuels Themed Conferences and Events

Please note that travel bursary applications are not restricted to the conferences/symposia listed here.
  • Perspect-H2O: Supramolecular Photocatalytic Water Splitting (COST), Jena, 10-13 March 2014 (This is a young researchers meeting; both students and early career post-doc UK-based members of the SFN can apply for funding), link
  • 2014 Electrochemical Conference on Energy & the Environment, Shanghai, 13-16 March 2014, link
  • Molecular Catalysts and Devices for Photoinduced Water Splittinga Research Seminar sponsored by UK Solar Fuels Network, Newcastle University, 17 March, contact
  • SFN Workshop – Challenges and Opportunities for Solar-Driven Fuels Synthesis: Materials and Molecular Design, Imperial College London, 3 April 2014, link
  • Chemistry in Energy Symposium 2014, London, 4 April 2014, link
  • 2nd International Conference on Clean Energy, Qingdao, 13-16 April 2014, link
  • 2014 MRS Spring Meeting, San Francisco, 21-25 April 2014; link
  • SolarFuel14: New Advances in Materials for Solar Fuels Production (NanoGe), Montreal, 24-26 June 2014, link
  • Royal Society: Do we need a global project on artificial photosynthesis? Kavli Centre (UK), 8-10 July 2014, link
  • International School "Materials for Renewable Energy" 2014, (post-docs can also apply for travel bursaries) Rome, 12-18 July, 2014. link
  • IPS-20: Photochemical Conversion and Storage of Solar Energy, Berlin, 27 July-1 August 2014, link
  • Summer School 2014: Reactivity of Nanoparticles for More Efficient and Sustainable Energy Conversion III – Rising Technologies, Denmark 10-15 August 2014 (Students and early career post-doc UK-based members of the SFN can apply for funding), link
  • Faraday Discussion 176: Next-Generation Materials for Energy Chemistry, Xiamen, 27-29 October 2014, link
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