The Translational Energy Research Centre hosts the first UK-Japan symposium on advanced materials for hydrogen and fuel cells

On Thursday 9th December, the Translational Energy Research Centre, in partnership with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and Kyushu University, hosted the first ever UK-Japan symposium on advanced materials for hydrogen and fuel cells. Speakers from universities across the UK and Japan came together to discuss hydrogen and fuel cell materials, their opportunities and challenges and to showcase current projects from PhD students.

The symposium – the first event of its kind between these partners – comes as the result of a long-standing research collaboration between co-hosts Dr Mohammed Ismail from the University of Sheffield and the Translational Energy Research Centre and Dr Stephen Lyth from Kyushu University. Their work, as well as advancing research into hydrogen fuel cells, gives opportunities to students in Japan and the UK and encourages international collaboration between the two countries.

Hosted virtually to allow all participants to attend safely, the symposium attracted more than 35 attendees from all over the world. The event began with opening remarks from Prof Naoto Kobayashi, the director of JSPS London, and a keynote speech delivered by Prof Mohamed Pourkashanian,director of the Translational Energy Research Centre, that shed light on some of the global context of hydrogen and fuel cell research and its contribution to net-zero emission targets.

The audience enjoyed hearing talks highlighting the latest advancements in the field from and presented by experts from six world-leading UK and Japanese universities. Topics from the event included the modelling of flow channels in fuel cell-powered vehicles, making affordable fuel cells from advanced nanomaterials and a foray into the world of data-driven designs of catalysts.

The event also included a poster session during which eleven PhD students from Kyushu University and the University of Sheffield presented their research projects in short 3 minute presentations. Prizes were awarded to the best four presentations, as voted for by the speakers from the main event. The winners of the cash prize, kindly provided by JSPS, were won by Mustafa Ercelik, Jinbei Tia and Florence Lee from the University of Sheffield and Irfan Kusdhanyn from Kyushu University. Finally, Ms Miyoshi, from JSPS London, shared some of the funding opportunities available from JSPS.

Speaking about the event and the partnership, Dr Ismail said: “This symposium, which is kindly sponsored by JSPS London, is a clear manifestation of the long-standing research collaboration between University of Sheffield and Kyushu University on hydrogen and fuel cells. We have witnessed today insightful talks from world-leading experts in the field and fantastic presentations from promising postgraduate students.

“This event and similar future events will undoubtedly cement the collaborative ties between the researchers from the two countries that ultimately aim to reach global net-zero emission targets.”

Dr Lyth said: “It was wonderful to be able reconnect researchers from Japan and the UK after almost two years, as well as welcoming new faces to this growing consortium of collaborators. The topics of this symposium are increasingly being covered in mainstream news outlets, with hydrogen regularly mentioned by presidents, politicians, and prime ministers. As such, I hope that events such as this can stimulate new ideas reaching across continents, and help to establish the next generation of technologies, as well as a new generation of young researchers.

“I am extremely grateful to the team at the University of Sheffield for their tireless efforts in organising this enjoyable event, as well as to JSPS London for enabling this important exchange of knowledge.”