Energy Transformation

The University of Cambridge’s Energy Interdisciplinary Research Centre is organising an online session on Energy Transformation to showcase the latest research on net-zero and zero-carbon technologies and policy from academics and early career researchers.

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About this event

This online session on Energy Transformation will showcase the latest research on net-zero and zero-carbon technologies and policy from academics and early career researchers.

There will be a series of short 10mins talks, each followed by Q&A.

All the presentations will be aimed at a general scientific audience covering aspects of how their research contributes to getting to a resilient future, where we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have a sustainable energy transition away from fossil fuels. 

Session 1


Dr David Reiner, Senior Lecturer, Judge Business School

Keynote: 'The Bumpy Road to a Low-Carbon Economy'

The UK and many other leading countries have committed to getting to ‘net zero’ by 2050 but the unprecedented nature of the challenge cannot be understated.  We look to history and to analogues for examples of the sort of transition that will be needed.  We then focus on the specific case of industrial decarbonisation in the UK for an example of some of the political challenges posed.



Dr Saptarsi Ghosh, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Future is electric: Future is GaN          

My talk is about a ‘wonder’ material called Gallium Nitride (GaN), and why it is becoming a game-changer in many of such technologies from lighting our homes to powering our phones. Along with the opportunities, I will also give a peek about the challenges associated with this family of materials and how we are trying to solve them at the ‘Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride’.



Dr Bart Roose, Newton International Research Fellow, Department of Physics  

How perovskite solar cells could transform electricity generation in the least developed countries



Dr Daniel Ainalis, Senior Research Associate, Department of Engineering         

How to decarbonise road freight in an absolute zero UK

Road freight transport provides an essential service that is vital to the UK, however, it is a significant source of greenhouse gas (and noxious) emissions. This presentation describes how the UK can achieve a zero emission road freight system that is highly efficient (energy and materials) and cost effective.



Dr Svetlana Menkin Bachbut, Postdoctoral Researcher, Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

Metal plating in batteries: past, present, and future     

My talk will discuss the historic close bond between the development of metal electrodeposition and energy storage devices. I will explain the challenges the battery community faces on the way to safer lithium-ion batteries and how the developed approaches could help us move towards improved and more sustainable batteries in the future.


10.20-10.30am Break


Session 2


Dr Alex Forse, Lecturer, Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

Keynote: New Chemistry for Carbon Dioxide Capture

Carbon capture is an important greenhouse gas mitigation technology that is thought to be essential to achieve net zero emissions. In this talk I will discuss new battery technology that can capture carbon dioxide as it charges. I will explain the promise of this technology, how it can move beyond traditional amine technology for carbon capture, and the ongoing materials chemistry challenges in optimising batteries that can capture carbon dioxide.



Joseph El-Kadi, PhD Student, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Collin Smith, PhD Student, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Green Ammonia for Long Term Energy Storage         

In recent years, interest has intensified around using ammonia (NH3) for long-term energy storage (days to months) in chemical bonds versus short-term storage (seconds to hours) offered by electrochemical technology (i.e. batteries), to balance seasonal energy demands and for energy trade. Compared to other hydrogen fuel carriers, ammonia is the only carbon-free alternative, and benefits from a relatively high energy density comparable to methane (natural gas). In the Catalysis and Process Integration Group at Cambridge, led by Dr Laura Torrente-Murciano, we are developing processes and materials to make ‘green ammonia’ and to recover energy from it via its decomposition. 



Tom Bedford, PhD Student, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy    

Development of high temperature superconducting coated conductors for commercial high field fusion magnets    

Coated conductor tapes based on REBCO high temperature superconducting films are widely considered to be a vital technology in the development of compact fusion devices. Several challenges still remain for this application, chief among these is the cost of fabrication. A potential solution to this challenge is to increase the performance of the superconducting layer so that less material is required.



Dr Lucrezia Nava, Research Associate, Judge Business School 

The way to Net-Zero and Beyond: Informing European Climate Policy through NEGEM         

NEGEM is an H2020 project aiming at assessing the realistic potential of Carbon Dioxide Removal



Ahmed Ashour, Undergraduate Summer Research Student, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

A computational model to simulate heterostructures using Finite Element Methods

Gallium Nitride (GaN) is a remarkably stable and efficient semiconductor material with the potential to dethrone silicon in numerous applications. It has the potential to save global power consumption by more than 10%, enormously cutting emissions. However, this stability comes at a cost, since the industrial method of growing Si crystals from a melt cannot be adapted to GaN. My research involves constructing a computational model to simulate this phenomenon using Finite Element Methods.



Louise Shanahan, PhD Student, Department of Physics 

Temperature sensing in single-cell organisms

Early diagnosis is of vital importance as medicine makes the transition from treatment based to preventive medicine. The development of research on the pathogenesis of cancer requires diagnostic techniques to progress from a macro to micro scale. I will discuss how diamond nanocrystals, which act as bio-compatible nano-sensors, can be used to probe temperature, inside single-cell organisms.



Markus Hellenbrand, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Energy-Efficient Computer Memory – Moving Atoms to Save the Climate       

I will introduce the contribution of computer usage to global energy consumption and explain how we are developing new memory which consumes less energy.

Watch on demand

You can watch the entire session on demand now.

Watch on-demand