09. 07. 2024

SAN4Fuel Summer School in Trieste welcomed top scientists from the field

The latest advances in the field of single-atom catalysis and its use in energy or environmental applications were addressed by participants of the SAN4Fuel Summer School, which took place at the end of June in Trieste, Italy. World-renowned scientists shared their knowledge and experience with young colleagues. The programme also featured a lecture by the chief editor of the prime scientific journal—Science.

The SAN4Fuel project is dedicated a revolutionary scientific process—single-atom engineering.  Adopting this method, scientists from Palacký University’s CATRIN, the Centre for Energy and Environmental Technologies of VSB-TUO, the University of Trieste and the Friedrich Alexander University (FAU) in Erlangen in Germany are developing new materials to generate “green” energy or reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the air. The aim is to find solutions for ending the dependence on fossil fuels.

“In addition to specific scientific results, an important part of the project is cooperation within an international team and the sharing of experience. Summer schools are such a great opportunity to share the latest knowledge. PhD students and junior researchers can learn from the world-class scientists in the field. Keynote lectures were delivered by Paolo Fornasiero, the editor of the ACS Catalysis journal, Patrik Schmuki, Matthias Beller and Radek Zbořil, who repeatedly appear on the lists of the most highly-cited scientists in the world, or Phil Szuromi, the editor of the renowned scientific journal Science. Besides the scientific topics, we also discussed the possibility of joint doctoral programs,” said the main organizer of the event and the Coordinator of the project, Štěpán Kment.

The programme included a number of lectures and subsequent discussions. Patrik Schmuki from FAU spoke about single-atom-based co-catalysts in the photocatalytic hydrogen production. Radek Zbořil, the Project Partner from VSB – TUO, focused on carbon nanostructures and described their key role in single-atom engineering for environmental, energy and medical applications. Matthias Beller from the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock showed the possibilities of using catalysts in modern energy storage systems. The structural and theoretical descriptions of single-atom catalysts were addressed by Giorgio Zoppellaro from VSB-TUO or Gianfranco Pacchioni from the University of Milano-Bicocca. Other lectures tackled the issues of, for example, plasmonic catalysts or the possibilities of catalyst characterization by synchrotron techniques.

“I was personally intrigued by Dr. Szuromi’s lecture, which showed how important it is to be able to pass scientific work on to the scientific community. The scientific discovery itself is often only a small part of a long journey that leads to publication in the world’s best journals. From the point of view of scientific cooperation, we have found a number of new topics especially in the field of photocatalysis and heterogeneous catalysis using unique single-atom catalysts in the processes of production of organic compounds or green hydrogen,” concluded Radek Zbořil.

This was a second summer school organized by the SAN4Fuel project, with the last-year event hosted by Ostrava.