HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Rome, Italy or Virtually from your home or work.
Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu, Speaker at Catalysis Conference
Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Title : Accelerating Photo(electro)Chemical Technology Beyond the Water Splitting Process - Cross Fertilisation of Wastewater Treatment and Green Hydrogen Generation


Green hydrogen – a carbon-free renewable fuel that has the capability to decarbonize a variety of sectors. The generation of green hydrogen is currently restricted to water electrolyzers. The use of freshwater resources and critical raw materials, however, limits its use. Alternative water splitting methods for green hydrogen generation via photocatalysis and photoelectrocatalysis (PEC) has been explored in the past few decades. However, their commercial potential still remains unexploited due to the high hydrogen generation costs. Novel PEC-based simultaneous generation of green hydrogen and wastewater treatment/high value product production is therefore seen as an alternative to conventional water splitting.

Interestingly, the organic/inorganic pollutants in wastewater and biomass favourably act as electron donors and facilitate the dual-functional process of recovering green hydrogen while oxidizing the organic matter. Generation of green hydrogen through the dual-functional PEC process opens up opportunities for a “circular economy”. It further enables the end-of-life commodities to be reused, recycled and resourced for a better life-cycle design while being economically viable for commercialization. This invited talk brings together and critically analyses the recent trends towards simultaneous wastewater treatment/biomass reforming while generating hydrogen gas by employing the PEC technology. We have briefly discussed the technical challenges associated with the tandem PEC process, new avenues, techno-economic feasibility and future direction towards achieving net neutrality.


Dr Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu is an Associate Professor at the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the Associate Director for Energy Materials within the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions at Heriot-Watt University, UK. He graduated from Physics discipline, Bharathiar University, India in 2009.  He was served as Research Assistant Professor during 2009-2013 under Prof. Yong Soo Kang’s group at the Centre for Next Generation Dye-sensitized Solar Cells in Hanyang University, South Korea.  He was the recipient of the prestigious JSPS award (2013) and worked as JSPS Research Fellow under Prof. Akira Fujishima (Inventor of Photoelectrocatalytic water splitting for hydrogen generation) at the International Photocatalytic Research Centre, Tokyo University of Science. He was the recipient of Sêr Cymru II-Rising Star Fellowship awarded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government (2017).  His research expertise is in ‘material synthesis and coatings’ for scalable energy conversion systems.  Particular focus is on effective solar energy harnessing via applications such as solar to green hydrogen generation, environmental clean-up (photocatalytic water treatment, air purification and artificial CO2 recycling).  Sudhagar is one of the leading scientists his niche and has published 111 research articles in peer-reviewed international journals (Citations-4672).  His h index is 39, and he has contributed to 8 book chapters.  He has disseminated his work in >50 national and international conferences.