Project General Assembly Meeting held in Cork, Ireland

The first annual General Assembly meeting of the FreeHydroCells project took place recently in Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland. The purpose of the meeting was to both assess work package progress to date, as well as to align partners and teams towards achieving target deliverables due in early 2024.

Lead partner University College Cork hosted the 2-day science-focused meeting from October 4th-5th. Over 20 members of the FreeHydroCells team attended, representing partners from across France, Germany, Ireland and Italy.

Day 1 saw the meeting kickoff with progress updates from partners in Work Packages 1 and 2. These concern advances in TMD / TCO materials, a crucial component that will underpin the design of the project’s core concept of a buried many junction photoelectrochemical cell.

WP and task leaders outlined the status of each task against agreed work plans. The main focus point for activities centered on reporting deadlines upcoming in April 2024. Leaders assessed the extent to which activities will develop over the next 6 months, in line with agreed deliverables and timeframes. 

The sessions also provided an opportunity for highlighting any challenges or obstacles encountered by the team in the course of research activities. The goal is ensuring that all partners are cognisant of potential risks, and are working off the same page. Achieving this commonality is an important basis for ultimately delivering on the project’s scientific and technical commitments. 

The day’s session also covered project management and impact activities. 

After a full day of technical meetings, the group got some fresh sea air on a historic walking tour of Kinsale town. With the autumnal Irish weather cooperating – just about!

Project General Assembly Meeting FreeHydroCells
Day 1 sessions at the FreeHydroCells General Assembly Meeting

Day 2 opened with a discussion and progress update on technical Work Packages 3 and 4. Following a similar format to the previous day, all eyes were on the progress to date, and upcoming plans into 2024.

In the afternoon, the group took a tour of the lab facilities at University College Cork’s Tyndall National Institute, as well as the School of Chemistry‘s lab facilities at the Environmental Research Institute, which also hosts UCC’s activities in the AMBER Centre

This included demonstrating the various operational capacities at UCC’s disposal which may be available to partners for their integrated activities, emphasising the multi-departmental and multi-disciplinary capabilities of UCC. 

This is an important element in a “high risk / high reward” project that relies heavily on working interrelationships and cross-institutional cooperation.

Day 2 of the meeting featured lab tours

Drawing to a close an eventful two days, the group donned their raingear and braved the worsening Irish weather for a walking tour of University College Cork’s historic campus. Highlights included the Main Quadrangle, built in 1850, the Honan Chapel, and the Crawford Observatory.

Day 2's walking tour of UCC campus

Overall, the meeting represented a successful continuation of cooperation between partner institutions, and a catalyst for driving scientific progress over the months ahead.

"This was an excellent General Assembly meeting, scientifically, technically and in terms of administrative oversight and future planning!

The meeting was essential in progressing such a challenging, exploratory project, as the project aim for novel science and technology impacts in the renewable solar energy field by splitting water for truly green hydrogen fuel can only be achieved by working closely as a single team!

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