Bunsentagung 2016

The German Bunsen Society of Physical Chemistry (DBG) is honored to invite on the occasion of the

115th General Assembly of the German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry

from 5th to 7th May 2016 at the University of Rostock.

Main topic: Basic Mechanisms in Energy Conversion

Main Topic: Basic Mechanisms of Energy Conversion Public
Opening Lecture: Mesoscopic photosystems for the solar generation of electricity and fuels
Industrial Symposium: Solvation Science in Industry and Industrial Exhibition

The sustainable generation and storage of energy is one of the most important scientific and technical challenges in the 21st century. The vanishing fossil fuel supplies need to be replaced by renewable resources. That includes avoiding the negative effects of the current energy supply system on climate, environment and health.

Among renewable energy resources, solar energy is the by far the largest exploitable resource. The sun provides more energy in one hour to the earth surface than all of the energy consumed by humans in an entire year. If solar energy is to be a major renewable energy source, it must be stored and dispatched on demand to the user. Thus capture, storage and distribution of solar-converted energy are the main scientific challenges.

Solar capture and conversion may be accomplished by photovoltaic technology, while solar electricity can be stored mechanically by pumped storage hydroelectricity or electrochemically using batteries. Wind and solar thermal energy conversion technologies are presently the by far cheapest methods of solar energy capture and conversion.

However, the most promising method for the future conversion and storage of solar energy is a design borrowed from nature. In photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and water are conversed into organic molecules such as sugars and into oxygen. Although we can learn from nature, natural photosynthesis is too complex and relatively inefficient. However, part of these processes can be copied or retraced in artificial photosynthesis.

Chemical energy conversion technologies include photovoltaic applications, hydrogen storage, photocatalytic water splitting devices, development of fuel cells, hydrogen storage in small molecules, synthesis of organic molecules (methanol or methane) from fixation of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The most attractive method for energy conversion and storage is the production of cheap solar fuels.

However, harvesting solar energy and converting it to electricity or chemical fuels at low cost and using abundantly available raw materials is still a huge challenge. New technologies, methods, reactions and materials for solar energy capture and conversion are badly needed.

Thus, research and development in energy conversion and storage are becoming increasingly important. Novel materials with higher efficiencies, improved performance and superior features need to be developed. “Energy conversion” represents an interdisciplinary field and requires combined efforts from chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and materials sciences. It is the aim of the Bunsentagung 2016 to highlight our current understanding of the basic mechanisms in energy conversion processes. This understanding at short time and small length scales is a prerequisite for designing new materials, tuning reactions and improving efficiency.

The Bunsentagung 2016 on “Basic Mechanisms in Energy Conversion” in Rostock will provide a perfect platform for fruitful research activities across many disciplines with a focus on physical and theoretical chemistry. The topic will be highlighted by an array of distinct speakers, all international experts in the field.

The Scientific Organisers

Ralf Ludwig, Joachim Wagner, Angelika Brückner, Udo Kragl, Matthias Beller, Oliver Kühn
Universität Rostock, LIKAT