2021 MRS Spring Meeting

Symposium Sessions


  • Broader Impact (BI)
  • Characterization and Modeling (CT)
  • Electronics and Optics (EL)
  • Energy and Sustainability (EN)
  • Nanoscale and Quantum Materials (NM)
  • Soft Materials and Biomaterials (SM)
  • Structural Materials (ST)

Symposium EN02—Sustainable Routes to Fuels and Commodity Chemicals Production via Electrochemical Methods

Sustainable methods in producing commodity chemicals and fuels that are scalable and cost-competitive are highly desired for the transition to a carbon-neutral future. Current processes mainly utilize fossil-based fuels, thus contributing to the increasing risks of global warming. To overcome this issue, solar energy, which is the most abundant renewable source, should be more effectively and broadly capitalized. For example, photoelectrochemical synthesis of fuels, organic and inorganic commodity chemicals (e.g. by water splitting or CO2 reduction) exploiting direct sunlight—and renewable electricity sources for additional bias potential—is a challenging but promising option. In this approach, lack of suitable materials that can perform the solar energy conversion process in an efficient and selective manner remains the biggest limitation. In addition, integrated large-scale photoelectrochemical devices and system concepts for producing fuels and commodity chemicals still need to be identified. Therefore, in-depth understanding of the individual materials characteristics as well as the interrelated properties in an integrated system are necessary to step closer towards the realization of such a sustainable route.

This symposium provides an international and interdisciplinary platform to discuss the latest trends and future directions in photoelectrochemical production of fuels and commodity chemicals. Specific emphasis will be placed on novel light absorbers, fundamental understanding through in-situ characterizations, photoelectrocatalysts for CO2 reduction, as well as photoelectrosynthesis of valuable commodity chemicals. In addition, cell design and engineering aspects (mass transport, product separation, etc.) that enable large-scale operation of the solar energy conversion device will also be highlighted.

Topics will include:

  • Novel photoelectrocatalyst materials, sustainable approaches and architectures
  • Photoelectrochemical routes to water splitting, selective CO2 reduction, and nitrogen reduction
  • Photoelectrosynthesis of commodity chemicals (organic and inorganic)
  • Tandem photoelectrochemical systems
  • Fundamental understanding of reaction mechanism and novel materials properties
  • Ab initio and DFT calculations for the rational design of photoelectrocatalysts
  • In Situ/Operando characterization of photoelectrocatalytic systems
  • Bio-photo-electrochemical hybrid approaches
  • Scalable device designs and demonstrators for solar fuels and commodity chemicals production
  • CFD simulation of photoelectrochemical systems

Invited Speakers:

  • Harry Atwater (California Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Marco Bernandi (California Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Kyoung-Shin Choi (University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA)
  • Jason Cooper (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA)
  • Victor de la Peña (IMDEA Energy, Spain)
  • Dan Esposito (Columbia University, USA)
  • Anna Fischer (Universität Freiburg, Germany)
  • Giulia Galli (University of Chicago, USA)
  • Daniel Grave (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
  • Sophia Haussener (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • Akihide Iwase (Meiji University, Japan)
  • Yan Jiao (The University of Adelaide, Australia)
  • Chong-Yong Lee (University of Wollongong, Australia)
  • Gang Liu (Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)
  • Jingshan Luo (Nankai University, China)
  • Miguel Modestino (New York University, USA)
  • Takeshi Morikawa (Toyota Central R&D, Inc., Japan)
  • Kristin Persson (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA)
  • Beatriz Roldan (Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Germany)
  • Tatsuya Shinagawa (The University of Tokyo, Japan)
  • Wilson Smith (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA)
  • Roel van de Krol (Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Germany)
  • Xiaolin Zheng (Stanford University, USA)

Symposium Organizers

Fatwa Firdaus Abdi
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
Institute for Solar Fuels

Simelys Hernández
Politecnico di Torino
Department of Applied Science and Technology (DISAT-CREST group)

Yun Hau Ng
City University of Hong Kong
School of Energy and Environment
Hong Kong

Francesca M. Toma
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, Chemical Science Division

Publishing Alliance

MRS publishes with Springer Nature


Symposium Support