Solar Fuels Network

The SFN aims to develop an effective community of solar fuels researchers from both academia and industry.  We seek to raise the profile of the UK solar fuels research community nationally and internationally, to promote collaboration and co-operation with other research disciplines, industry and international solar fuels programmes, and to contribute towards the development of a UK solar fuels technology and policy roadmap.


“Recent advances in the science underpinning solar driven fuels synthesis, and increasing appreciation of the need for a renewable fuel synthesis strategy, mean that the formation of the Solar Fuels Network is particularly timely. There is exciting research ongoing across the UK and worldwide addressing this challenge from many different perspectives and disciplines. A key role for the Network will be to help to bring this research together to maximise progress towards meeting our grand challenge of harnessing sunlight to achieve the cost effective and renewable synthesis of molecular fuels.”  James Durrant, SFN former Co-ordinator.


In order to meet our aims, we organise and support various activities and events, working with partner organisations including the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Energy community of the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), the Solar Fuels Institute (SOFI), and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Science and Innovation Network. Our activities include the organisation of workshops and conferences, PG symposia, public engagement events, and the publication of a regular newsletter. You can find a list of our upcoming events here, and a list of past events in the Events Archive.


The Network is led by an Advisory Board with members drawn from the across the UK’s solar fuels academic and industrial research community.  Its management team is based at University of Liverpool, and is led by Prof Alex Cowan with Dr. Glenda Wall as project manager.


Membership of the SFN is free and available to both UK-based and international researchers.  Membership gives access to our events, workshops and seminars related to solar-driven fuels synthesis, and members receive a quarterly newsletter.  Bursaries are available for UK-based members for travel, outreach and public engagement, and bilateral exchange – visit the Funding page for more details.

Advisory Board Members

Alexander Cowan (SFN Director) – University of Liverpool

Fraser Armstrong FRS – University of Oxford

Chris Bagley – Energy Generation & Supply KTN
Lionel Clarke – Shell
Richard Cogdell – University of Glasgow
Lee Cronin – University of Glasgow
James Durrant – Imperial College London
Peter Edwards FRS – University of Oxford

Elizabeth Gibson – Newcastle University
Anna Hankin – Imperial College London
Tony Harriman – Newcastle University
Nick Hooper – Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Moritz Kuehnel – Swansea University
Gianluca li Puma – Loughborough University
Mercedes Maroto-Valer – Heriot-Watt University
Rob McIntyre – CristalGlobal
Andrew Mills – Queens University Belfast
Ivan Parkin – University College London

Robin Perutz – University of York
Erwin Reisner  – University of Cambridge
Jason Riley  – Imperial College London
Bill Rutherford – Imperial College London

Jeremy Shears – Shell
Junwang Tang – University College London

Tony Vlcek – Queen Mary University of London

Message from the Director

Professor Alex Cowan

I am delighted to take on directorship of the UK Solar Fuels Network. The Network was launched in 2011 and has grown under the leadership of initially Prof James Durrant (Imperial College London) and then Prof Erwin Reisner (University of Cambridge). Guided by our advisory board, James and Erwin have established an influential, yet friendly and supportive, network that has brought together a community with diverse research interests.

Reaching out to related research disciplines will continue to be focus of network activities and in recent years we have developed close links with the EPSRC Supergen SuperSolar Hub. We will continue to deliver events such as the joint solar fuels-photovoltaics workshops and funding schemes. Alongside an expansion of these efforts to further academic networks we will focus increasingly on interacting with industry, funders and governments to facilitate the realisation of impact from the world-leading research that our members are delivering. This is an exciting time for Solar Fuels and our Network and I look forward to working with you all.

With best wishes, Alex.