On 24 and 25 January in Rome, EERA JPs AMPEA and DfE organised a workshop in collaboration with COST-Action EU-MACE on Digitalisation and Automation Boost Energy Materials Research.
Experts, researchers, and innovators from diverse parts of the world gathered to share the latest and most innovative technologies revolutionizing materials science.
Following the welcoming of CNR DIITET’s Director, the workshop's first session focused on supporting the 'Green Digital Transition' through the use of technologies that promote the development of advanced innovative materials. In this context, the VIPCOAT and DigiPass platforms were introduced, together with the IAM4EU partnership. The first one enables teams of researchers to co-design innovative materials and exchange data. The DigiPass platform prioritises the dual green-digital transition for a circular, sustainable, zero-emission economy. Finally, the IAM4EU partnership takes decisive actions to plan the digitisation of materials and manage digital product passports.
Discussions then focused on implementing the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) Framework in the solar energy sector to promote data dissemination within the scientific community. Furthermore, the talks also covered new approaches to metadata management, enhancing cloud-connected laboratories, and developing data ontology for new electrochemical materials to meet the challenge of green hydrogen in the market.
The session also covered two innovative platforms: MatterMine, which aims to develop efficient and cost-effective materials for thermochemistry and energy storage, and IEMAP, which is designed to accelerate the discovery and selection of sustainable materials for energy technologies through the use of AI technologies and a dedicated database.
The second day of the conference addressed the challenges of microkinetic modeling for electrochemical water splitting in nanostructured materials.
The presentation included the results of molecular dynamics simulations that provided insights into heat transport phenomena across the water/ice interface. Following on from this, the subsequent presentation demonstrated the results obtained through the use of COMSOL, which effectively coupled optical-electrical-thermal modules for simulating the primary heat generation factors in photovoltaic devices.
In the field of batteries, in order to produce ones that are more efficient and cost-effective, a new approach to materials research is being proposed. This will require the construction of new laboratory infrastructure and analytical tools, such as high-throughput automated synthesis modules, automated analysis programmes capable of handling large amounts of data, and artificial intelligence-assisted experimental planners. The workshop discussion included the design and integration of electrocatalysts in hydrogen technologies for CO2 reduction.
Successful cases using machine learning approaches, which significantly reduces the number of experiments required, were also presented during the event.
Finally, the interactive digital posters presented encouraged further exploration and discussion of the workshop topics.