The world has clear goals on reducing CO2 emissions to limit catastrophic climate change. But society needs chemicals – fuels, fertilizers, precursors for plastics and pharmaceuticals – where do these come from if we must reduce and eventual stop fossil fuel use? With easy availability of low-cost renewable electricity comes the possibility of electrochemically creating “out of thin air” the chemical building blocks needed for our society. Anthony Kucernak, Professor of Chemical Physics at Imperial College London sees his work as facilitating the electrocatalysis of those processes – coupling renewable electricity with ubiquitous chemicals (water, carbon dioxide, nitrogen) to produce the chemicals our society needs – in much the same way that plants have been doing for millions of years. But we must look to use catalysts which are based on common and abundant elements – in the same manner as nature – rather than the expensive and rare elements such as platinum and palladium we now use. By taking a leaf from nat
Prof. Anthony Kucernak, (Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London) is Professor of Chemical Physics and a world leader in the electrochemical interconversion of renewable electricity to chemical fuels such as hydrogen. He is cofounder of three companies arising from innovations in his laboratories: “Bramble Energy”: high volume manufacturing of electrolysers, fuel cells and electrochemical conversion devices; “RFC Power”: developing grid scale electricity storage; “Sweet Generator”: developing new technology to clean waste-water.