Dr Mark Symes

Published: 9 November 2021

Electrochemistry and Energy Conversion

Mark Symes photo


Dr Mark Symes
School of Chemistry  

Royal Society University Research Felloship (2016-2025)

Area of Research Electrochemistry and Energy Conversion


Why did you choose to pursue a fellowship in your research career?

I am passionate about applying fundamental science to solve real-world problems. At the moment, some of the main problems we face as a society are related to climate change and how to live more sustainably. Chemistry, and particularly electrochemistry, holds tremendous potential for tackling climate change. My research looks at new and more sustainable ways to convert and store energy (through making net zero carbon fuels) and at ways to make the production of key chemical feedstocks more sustainable.

Why work at the University of Glasgow?

The people! The University of Glasgow is packed with supportive and encouraging colleagues, and the University really looks after its fellows (funding, mentoring and promoting our careers).

How would you describe your research in 20 words or less?

Using electrochemistry to produce more sustainable fuels and chemical feedstocks.

What is your research highlight?

In 2018, I published a paper with some collaborators exploring the use of decoupled electrolysis for rapid on-demand hydrogen production (Nature Chem. 2018, 10, 1042-1047). This technology, which was invented and developed in Glasgow, could be a game-changer for the conversion of renewably-generated electricity to green hydrogen.

What do you look for in a collaboration?

Enthusiasm and openness.

How do you see your research impacting society?

I’d like to think that at least some of my research could be applied to address the fundamental challenges facing us in terms of how we power, feed and provision our society in a sustainable manner.

What next?

We are hoping to try and commercialise some of our decoupled electrolysis technology, as well as continuing to investigate fundamental electrochemical processes for sustainable living. We’ve even got a research stream looking at using electrochemistry to support human exploration in space!

First published: 9 November 2021