Professor Kylie Catchpole is a research leader and educator in the School of Engineering at the Australian National University.
Her research is on improving solar cells and creating a more resilient energy system. Her group has achieved record efficiency perovskite solar cells, and their work on direct solar-to-hydrogen generation was listed as one of the top 10 innovations by the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) in 2020. She has been awarded several fellowships including a Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council and she was awarded the inaugural John Booker Medal for Engineering Science from the Australian Academy of Science.
Recently she has been working to enhance students’ sense of meaning and contribution through her interdisciplinary course “Optimism and Agency in Times of Change” (https://programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/course/scnc2201, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufcsxaxHCAc), as well as through embedding such opportunities in courses throughout the university.
My research interests are photovoltaics, solar fuels and the broader energy transition.
We are currently recruiting for PhD students in this area. At ANU PhD scholarships are very competitive and are only awarded to the top few percent of students. If this applies to you and you have a relevant background in physics, chemistry, or engineeing please email me with your CV.
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The quest for abundant renewable energy is currently one of the world’s greatest technological challenges. Solar energy is by far the most abundant clean energy source available. In order to achieve the vision of a world powered by renewable resources, we need cheap and highly efficient ways to replace fossil fuels in electricity generation and transport. In our work we are focusing on both these areas, with the aim of creating high efficiency solar cells to help bring down the cost of solar power, and creating low cost solar fuels by using sunlight to split water. This involves fundamental conceptual advances in our understanding of the physics and chemistry of materials and their interactions with light, in order to design and fabricate high efficiency devices. We also need to consider how to integrate these technologies into the broader energy system, as our current system was designed around fossil fuels. This requires high level systems thinking as well as being able to model the energy system in detail.