Coordinated by Fundación Iberdrola España, Energy for Future (E4F) is an initiative of the Horizon 2020 MSCA-COFUND Program, offering structured international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral training and mobility fellowships for experienced researchers of any nationality.
The project aims to promote research projects focused on the main technologies associated with the energy transition and the green transformation of the economy: photovoltaic and wind energy, the evolution of the electric vehicle, energy storage solutions and the consolidation of smart grids.
Current E4F fellows at Imperial College London:
Dr Ritesh Kumar
Research area: Wind Energy
Project title: Development of design guidelines for Offshore Wind Turbines under extreme operational conditions
Academic hosts & department: Dr Stavroula Kontoe and Dr David Taborda, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Project summary: We aim to promote innovation and advance systemic solutions for a sustainable energy future targeting wind energy. In the past decade, the number of Offshore Wind Turbine (OWT) farms planned or constructed in the relatively harsher ocean environment and seismic regions has been increasing globally. Our research aims for the modification to the conventional p-y analysis approach to be fit for purpose for the pile types, geometries, and extreme operational conditions encountered offshore. The key elements of cyclic soil behaviour such as hysteresis, stiffness changes, accumulated deformations (ratcheting), liquefaction-induced effects, and post cyclic monotonic capacity will be investigated utilizing a sophisticated physics-based modelling scheme coupled with a pertinent data-driven methodology. The proposed coupled approach will circumvent the requirement of intensive computation and will also establish a strategy to develop design guidelines for new OWT farms under extreme operational conditions.
Dr Soren Scott
Research area: Energy Storage
Project title: ScaleOx - Towards a scalable electrocatalyst material for water oxidation in acid
Academic host & department: Dr Ifan Stephens, Department of Materials
Project summary: It is the challenge of our times to avoid cooking our planet with the greenhouse gas CO2. The good news is that solar panels and wind turbines can capture energy without producing CO2, but only as electricity, and only while the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. Ever since I first saw water splitting – a very simple demonstration experiment with two pieces of pencil graphite hooked up to a battery and dipped in in a glass of salt water, causing hydrogen gas to bubble up from one pencil electrode and oxygen from the other - I have been fascinated by the idea of hydrogen as an "infinite battery". Hydrogen can be made with renewable electricity when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing and used to store energy as well as decarbonize chemical industries such as steel and fertilizers. It turns out, though, that the tough part of making hydrogen (the tough part of making any sustainable fuel) is making the oxygen. Right now, the best technology for hydrogen production requires a material, iridium, which is rarer than gold or platinum, for the electrode where oxygen is produced. My project is to solve this looming materials bottleneck by inventing a new material that can do what iridium does, but which is available on the scale needed make terrawatts' worth of hydrogen. Only then can we store enough energy to power everything we need even when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing - without cooking our planet!
Dr Suhyun Yoo
Research area: Photovoltaic Energy
Project title: Lattice Polarisation Engineering for Next-Generation Photovoltaics
Academic host & department: Prof Aron Walsh, Department of Materials
Project summary: The Sun is the most sustainable source of power for the post-fossil fuel era. The key to improving the efficiency of solar energy conversion, both in solar cells and solar fuels, is reducing the rate of recombination for electrons and holes. This can be achieved through device optimisation, but often the performance bottleneck is the underlying active light-absorbing material. My primary objective is to develop next-generation materials for solar energy conversion. I will establish a set of engineering principles for controlling lattice polarisation of non-centrosymmetric photoactive crystals. I will identify the optimal candidates exhibiting lattice polarisation and identify the fundamental mechanism of charge behaviour. This knowledge will provide a design route for next-generation solar cells. The research impact is expected to contribute to the global transition to renewable energy sources by improving photovoltaic performance, and to contribute to open-science communities by sharing the research data and analysis tools in public.