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Matthew Davidson
Professor Matthew Davidson

Press Release - 06 July 2007

Bath Science Café: sustainable energy brings power to the people

The science behind technologies offering clean alternatives to fossil fuels will be explained at next week’s Bath Science Café in The Raven Pub on Queen Street (7.30pm, Monday 9 July 2007).

Professor Matthew Davidson, from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath, will describe how the development of biodiesel catalysts, fuel cell materials and solar cells could one day help mitigate many of the problems caused by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.

Professor Davidson’s team is designing new molecular catalysts that will enable unrefined oils to be made into biodiesel more cheaply and efficiently.

Using fuels from renewable resources such as biodiesel has many potential environmental benefits over fossil fuels.

Although there are still a number of complex technological, economic and environmental challenges to overcome before the widespread use of biodiesel is viable, further advancements will be an important step towards breaking our dependency on fossil fuels altogether.

“These kinds of technologies have enormous potential,” said Professor Davidson.

“The sun provides the earth with more energy in an hour than the global fossil energy consumption in a year – we just need to harness it.

“Dwindling fossil fuel reserves and growing concerns over climate change have led to an urgent need for more sustainable alternatives.

“Research in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath is helping to pioneer many of these clean energy technologies for the future.

“In addition to our work on biofuels, colleagues are also at the forefront of research into fuel cell and solar energy conversion technologies which will provide more sustainable energy in the longer term.”

The Department’s research on these clean technologies is supported by substantial funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and last year it was highlighted at an exhibition at Buckingham Palace attended by the Queen.

Further information about the department’s work on sustainable energy can be found on the Power to the People website (see related links).

The Bath Science Café is an ongoing series of monthly events where some of the country’s leading scientists talk informally about their research.

The event will be held in The Raven Pub on Queen Street in Bath’s city centre. No tickets or reservations are required – just turn up at 7.30pm for an 8pm start.

Organisers will ask for a small voluntary donation to cover travel costs for the speakers.

The next Bath Science Café event will explore the theme of chemical nanoscience and molecular organisation with Professor Neil Champness, from the University of Nottingham, speaking on ‘The nanoworld: benefit or danger?’ (Monday 10 September).

To register for email alerts about forthcoming Bath Science Café events, contact Melissa Spielman.

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