Solar Fuels Network Newsletter
Issue 3, June 2014


Steph Pendlebury, SFN Project Manager, Imperial College London      

Welcome to the third Solar Fuels Network newsletter! We have a competition for PhD students and early career post-docs to win expenses-paid attendance at the Royal Society’s meeting on a global artificial photosynthesis project (deadline 1st June!).  There is information about upcoming meetings, conference and summer schools, including the next SFN meeting, “Materials for Solar Driven Fuels Synthesis” on 7th July. We also have reports on recent solar fuels themed meetings and outreach events. 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:

Materials for Solar-Driven Fuels Synthesis

a satellite meeting to the Royal Society’s
“Do we need a global project on artificial photosynthesis?” 

7th July 2014 at University College London



  • John Irvine (St Andrews): New directions in visible light photocatalysis
  • Can Li (Dalian): Fundamental understanding of photocatalysis and photoelectrocatalysis for solar fuel production
  • Dan Nocera (Harvard): The artificial leaf
  • Ivan Parkin (UCL): Photodiodes for solar driven water splitting
  • Laurie Peter (Bath): Kinetics and mechanisms of light-driven water splitting reactions
  • Peter Robertson (Robert Gordon): Development of fluidised reactors for photocatalytic fuel synthesis
  • Lianzhou Wang (Queensland): Layered semiconductor metal oxides for solar fuel generation
  • Peidong Yang (UC Berkeley): Semiconductor nanowires for artificial photosynthesis
  • Kyung Byung Yoon (Sogang): Novel water splitting electrodes

The Solar Fuels Network cordially invites you to a one-day symposium on materials for solar-driven fuels synthesis at UCL on 7th July, featuring world-class international and UK speakers. Registration is free for SFN members. There will be an opportunity to present posters; please email Junwang Tang and Ivan Parkin with your poster title and abstract (maximum 1500 characters including references, in a Word file) if you wish to be considered for a poster presentation. Deadline for poster abstracts is 5pm on Wednesday 2nd July This event is a satellite meeting to the Royal Society’s three-day meeting at Chicheley Hall.

There will be a coach to transport people who are attending both the SFN satellite meeting and the main Royal Society meeting to Chicheley Hall from UCL on 7th July. Please let Linnea Luuppala know if you would like to take this coach.

The Solar Fuels Network is pleased to announce the winners of the competition to win expenses-paid attendance at the Royal Society’s meeting “Do we need a global project on artificial photosynthesis?”: Paul Brack, Katharina Brinkert, Penny Carmichael, Anna Hankin, Jonathan Lee, Franky Bedoya Lora.

For more information please visit the Solar Fuels Network events page


1st UK-Japan Solar Fuels Symposium: “Solar Fuels Synthesis: Materials & Mechanism” 

18-19 September 2014, Tokyo

This symposium is a unique platform for scientists in in the UK and Japan to discuss the materials challenges for solar-driven fuel synthesis, to deepen fundamental understanding, and to find new opportunities for collaborations. 

Together with Prof Kazunari Domen, Dr Junwang Tang and Dr Erwin Reisner are organising a SFN-Japan bilateral workshop, which will be held in Tokyo, 18-19 September 2014, with financial support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The aim of this workshop is to develop UK-Japan solar fuels collaborations. If you are a UK-based academic/researcher who is interested in developing such a collaboration, please get in touch with Junwang and Erwin to register your interest and indicate which Japanese researchers you would particularly like to meet.

Report: Advanced Materials and Processes for Energy Applications (AMPEA) workshop, May 2014

Andreas Bachmeier, University of Oxford

The workshop ‘Materials for Energy Devices’, organised by the European Energy Research Alliance’s joint programme ‘Advanced Materials and Processes for Energy Applications (AMPEA), was held at the ‘Forschungszentrum Jülich’ (a Helmholtz research centre) in Germany on May 16th 2014.... Read more

Electrochemical Horizons

Date: 7th-9th September 2014
Venue: Loughborough University

Early bird registration closes on 31st July 2014
For more information about the Conference please visit the Conference website.

Report: SOFI Summer Meeting, 11-13 June, Uppsala

Mark Symes, University of Glasgow

Dr Mark Symes (University of Glasgow) and Dr Deirdre Black (RSC) represented the SFN at this meeting, at which industry engagement, bilateral exchanges, the SFOI Knowledge Map, demo project and Kickstarter campaign, and a solar fuels X-Prize were discussed.  You can read Mark’s report here.

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


SFN Workshop: “Challenges and Opportunities for Solar-Driven Fuels Synthesis: Materials and Molecular Design” 

3 April 2014

This workshop was organised to recognise the award of Royal Society of Chemistry prizes to three solar fuels researchers: Prof Jim Barber (Imperial College; Interdisciplinary Prize 2013); Prof Bob Crabtree (Yale University; Centenary Prize 2013); Prof Mike Wasielewski (Northwestern University; Environment Prize 2013). Talks were also given by Toni Llobet (ICIQ), Chris Pickett (University of East Anglia) and Erwin Reisner (University of Cambridge). Click here to read reports about this workshop by students who were awarded SFN travel bursaries.


Oxfordshire Science Festival

In March 2014 the SFN supported a Solar Fuels themed stand in the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, as part of the Oxfordshire Science Festival, and linked to the International Year of Crystallography. 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. Visitors learned about green energy, how to extract chlorophyll from plants in a hands-on experiment, touched incredible 3D printed models of enzymes involved in natural photosynthesis – structures determined using crystallography, chatted with the scientists carrying out the research, and competed with their friends in the glove box challenge! Find out more about the stand by visiting the Oxford group’s blog, watching their video podcasts and visiting the Royal Society Summer Exhibition website.



Imperial Festival 

Dr Thanh-Truc Vu, Dr Anna Reynal and colleagues from the SFN and Imperial’s Chemistry Department presented a display entitled “Light, water, power!” Festival goers were able find out how renewable resources such as sunlight and water can be used to produce energy. Visitors started with a hands-on experiment to extract chlorophyll from spinach leaves, while learning of the key role chlorophyll plays at the heart of the photosynthesis process, transforming sunlight into energy. Both adults and children alike enjoyed donning gloves and performing the extraction and filtration of the green chlorophyll. The presenters explained how scientists can mimic Nature in order to produce energy through some simple experiments. A 9V battery attached to two pencils placed in water was used to generate hydrogen by water electrolysis, illustrating the principle of hydrogen fuel cell. The power of light was demonstrated by shining a desk lamp on a dye-sensitized solar cell to make a toy helicopter fly. Through these interactions with the enthusiastic demonstrators, visitors to the stall were able to ask plenty of questions about energy issues and the different solutions demonstrated at the stall.



The Solar Fuels Network supports outreach and public engagement activities with a theme of solar fuels/artificial photosynthesis. Steph Pendlebury leads a network of people from all over the UK involved in planning and developing these activities – please contact her for more information. We have a library of various demonstrations, hands-on activities and games, posters, hand-outs and information that can be used for events such as science festivals. Funding is also available to UK-based members of the SFN for outreach and public engagement.

SOFI Tweets!


The Solar Fuels Institute (SOFI) is now on social media! SOFI believes artificial photosynthesis is the key to our energy future, but it will only become a reality through engagement, collaboration and conversation between scientists, research institutions, and industry. Our Facebook and Twitter pages are a place to share and discuss videos, photos, discussions, and thought-provoking stories and research from around the web. You will also get the latest news about SOFI's projects and programs. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, and help us build an online community dedicated to advancing solar fuels research.
SOFI on Facebook
SOFI on Facebook
SOFI on Twitter
SOFI on Twitter
SOFI Website
SOFI Website


The Solar Fuels Network would like to congratulate the 6 Royal Society of Chemistry medal winners 

From the right: Prof Saiful Islam (Sustainable Energy Award), Prof Andrew Barron (Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award), Prof Robert Crabtree (Centenary Prize), Prof James Barber FRS (Interdisciplinary Prize), Prof Michael Wasielewski (Environment Prize), Dr Martin Heeney (Corday Morgan Prize)

Upcoming Solar Fuels Themed Conferences and Events

Please note that travel bursary applications are not restricted to the conferences/symposia listed here
  • SolarFuel14: New Advances in Materials for Solar Fuels Production (NanoGe), Montreal, 24-26 June 2014, link
  • Materials for Solar-Driven Fuels Synthesis - a satellite meeting to the Royal Society’s: “Do we need a global project on artificial photosynthesis?”, London, 7th July 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
  • Electrochem 2014: Electrochemistry Horizons, Loughborough University, 7-9 September 2014, link
  • 1st UK-Japan Solar Fuels Symposium: “Solar Fuels Synthesis: Materials & Mechanism”
    UK Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, 18-19 September 2014,contact Junwang Tang and Erwin Reisner for more information
  • SFSC2014: 4th International Symposium on Solar Fuels and Solar Cells, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, China, 21-24 October 2014, link
  • Faraday Discussion 176: Next-Generation Materials for Energy Chemistry, Xiamen, 27-29 October 2014, link
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