Energy researchers celebrate first symposium

Postgraduate researchers, early career researchers and academics working in the field of energy across the University of Sheffield came together yesterday (Monday 24 July 2017) for the first ever Energy Symposium.

Taking place in the Diamond, the symposium aimed to bring these talented researchers together to encourage the sharing of knowledge, create networks and possible collaborations in the future.

“We have over 270 PhD students researching energy-related topics at the University of Sheffield,” said Matthew Billson, Programme Director of Energy 2050. “However many people don’t realise the breadth of research that is taking place or have the opportunity to meet others and share ideas.

“We formed a team of students to organise the event and asked them what they would want from a symposium so that they could get the most out of it.”

The day consisted of keynote lectures from eminent Professors at the University quick-fire presentations and a poster presentations.

Emeritus Professor Jim Swithenbank from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering talked about his career, beginning with developing rockets in the height of the Cold War, to moving into academia and developing the FLUENT CFD package. President of the Energy Institute from 1986-87, he is an internationally respected consultant to the combustion and incineration industry.

Professor Julia Weinstein from the Department of Chemistry gave a talk on solar fuels from a Chemist’s perspective. Professor Weinstein talked about the need for interdisciplinary experts to work together to solve our energy challenges of the future, which was an important theme of the day.

The final keynote was from Professor David Stone from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. His talk was about the development of the Willenhall battery system, one of the UK’s largest and fastest energy storage systems connected to the grid. He went through preliminary results for their testing and future developments including the installation of Europe’s first hybrid flywheel system.

The students oral and poster presentations were judged and prizes were given for the best presentations.

The winners were:

Poster presentation – Dhanisa Patel from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (winner), Jennifer Brierley from the School of Architecture (runner-up)

Oral presentations – Jake Entwhistle from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Energy CDT (winner), Helen Theaker from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Energy 2050 (runner-up)

Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Head of Energy Research, said: “Our first symposium has been a great event and it’s been fantastic to see students from a wide range of disciplines and departments engage with each other. I congratulate our organising team and hope we can build on their success for future events.”