Richardson Travel Bursary Report - Lucy Hillen

Lucy Hillen is currently in the third year of her PhD at Queen’s University Belfast where works on the synthesis and development of novel and unconventional solid materials for CO2 capture, including zeolites and greener alternatives such as modified biochars obtained as by-products from pyrolysis processes. She was awarded a Richardson Travel Bursary to attend the 2nd Energy Future Conference (EF2016). Below, she tells us that by attending the conference she was able to consider the various industries for future career prospects. 

'I am grateful to have received a Richardson Travel Bursary from SCI, which allowed me to travel to Sydney, Australia, to attend EF2016. This innovative event operated under the tagline ‘EF2016, where research and industry redefine the norms in the energy sector’ and this could not have been more true of a summit that impressively combined the input of academics and bright research minds with exhibitions and presentations from industrial and commercial partners and associates. I presented my work at the conference, which was well received and followed up with several interesting questions and comments from other academics in the field. 

'The three-day conference was located at Columbo House at the Kensington Campus of UNSW, and comprised a selection of plenary talks, parallel sessions, poster sessions, workshops and exhibitions. Topics of plenary lectures included Energy Storage beyond Li-ion, Changes in Global Energy Markets and The Future of Nuclear Technology. In addition, interesting workshops were held on topics such as battery testing and radiation safety, as well as sessions on professional development and a publishing workshop delivered by Elsevier. Networking lunches and drinks afforded the opportunity to take part in engaging conversations about their work and I was fortunate enough to be able to discuss my work and other relevant topics with interested parties. Throughout the second and third days of the event I attended talks in parallel sessions with themes of System Integration, Thermal Energy Storage, Bio-energy, Hydrogen Storage and Nuclear. Lectures on production of doped and modified carbon based materials for applications such as energy storage, wastewater treatment and, my own area, CO2 capture, were extremely interesting and useful for me in relation to my own work.

'An aspect of the conference I found intriguing was the inclusion of many presentations from industrial partners that highlighted Australia’s current energy situation. A large but under-populated country, Australia has abundant potential for technologies such as solar power but suffers problems with energy storage and grid connectivity. The speakers focused on the outlook of the energy industry in Australia, highlighting where efforts should be placed and realistically what goals could and should be determined on a national level.

'This conference was an extremely interesting experience for me, allowing me to consider the various energy industries out there that I might become involved in later in my career. I would like to say thank you very much to SCI for their generous financial contribution that allowed me to attend this excellent event, where I was able to listen to and learn from leading scientists in the energy sector as well as discuss my own research and results with experts in my field. I feel this conference related very well to the ethos of SCI as a society, with an outstanding blend of academia and industry creating a first class event.'

Lucy Hillen
Queen’s University Belfast

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