Copyright: Paul Glaser

Dr Alexey Alekseenko | Lightning Talks

He led and was engaged in environmental projects for industries extracting coal, metals, diamonds, and building materials. His expertise expands from pollution assessment to the restoration of ecosystems, advancing the Resource Nexus approach in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Alexey currently studies post-mining legacies and opportunities in Lusatia in the broader context of global coal phase-out and energy transition.

As we enter the coal phaseout era, over 3,600 industrial coal mines worldwide face imminent closure. The UN University branch in Weißwasser aims to position Lusatia as a model for numerous coal transition regions facing similar challenges. The diverse international team is dedicated to addressing a common global question: does the post-mining legacy function as an asset or a liability within the Resource Nexus framework? Tailoring land-use decisions to the specific material and resource demands of each former mining area is crucial. There is no imperative instruction on how to recreate a biome, but it is the top-priority question of how to meet the demands of the community and how not to deteriorate the resource base in its widest sense. In essence, the Resource Nexus approach doesn’t prioritize transforming minescapes into “green” or “blue” areas for its own sake. Rather, the management plan is deemed successful if a barren area can be repurposed into an energy facility, transport hub, warehouse, etc. This approach ensures the conservation of resources by favoring brownfield development over greenfield expansion.

Copyright: private

Dr José J. Baldoví | Lightning Talks
Universitat De Valencia, Spain

Dr José J. Baldoví is an Excellence Distinguished Researcher of the Gen-T Programme of the Valencian Government, director of the 2D Smart Materials Lab and ERC Grantee (StG 2021) at the Institute of Molecular Science (ICMol) of the University of Valencia. His research activity focuses on the development of theoretical and computational frameworks for the chemical design of smart molecular/2D devices for information technologies. His interdisciplinary work integrates physics, chemistry and materials science to explore emerging applications in magnonics, spintronics, quantum computing, and sensing devices.

He completed a PhD in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (2016) and was a Marie Curie-Sklodowska Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg (Germany). He also holds a Master in Science Communication that allows him to transfer the value of science to society through different public science articles and events.

The recent isolation of two-dimensional (2D) magnets offers tantalizing opportunities for spintronics, magnonics and quantum technologies at the limit of miniaturization. Among the key advantages of atomically-thin materials are their flexibility, which provides an exciting avenue to control their properties by strain engineering, and the more efficient tuning of their properties with respect to their bulk counterparts. In this presentation we will provide an overview of our recent results on this fascinating topic. First, we will focus on the magnetic properties of the air-stable 2D magnetic semiconductor CrSBr and will investigate their evolution under mechanical strain and Coulomb screening using first-principles. Then, we will introduce the modulation of these properties after the deposition of sublimable organic molecules. These results will pave the way for the design of a new class of magnonic materials that can be selectively tailored by a chemical approach.

Copyright: private

Peter Boelens | Lightning Talks
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany

He is a bio-engineer from Ghent University, specializing in innovative technologies for sustainable resource recovery. His Master’s thesis research at the Center of Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) focused on electrochemical nitrogen recovery from urine to microbial protein. With prior experience in the biotechnological and resource field in Belgium and Germany, he embarked on a PhD journey at the Biotechnology department of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF), developing a novel biomagnetic separation of ultrafine fluorescent phosphors for recycling rare-earth elements from end-of-life fluorescent lamps.

Peter Boelens1,2,*, Lucas Pereira1, Erik Löwer3, Konstantin Tumakov3, Jose Ricardo da Assuncao Godinho1, Doreen Ebert1, Robert Möckel1, Norman Kelly1, Ashak Mahmud Parvez1,4, Roman Maletz1,4, K. Gerald van den Boogaart1, Lucas Ott5, Frank Ellinger5,  Christina Dornack4, Yana Vaynzof2, Jens Gutzmer1


1Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, Freiberg, Germany

2TUD Dresden University of Technology, Institute of Semiconductors and Microsystems, Dresden, Germany

3Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, Institute of Mechanical Process Engineering and Mineral Processing, Freiberg, Germany

4TUD Dresden University of Technology, Institute of Waste Management and Circular Economy, Pirna, Germany

5TUD Dresden University of Technology, Chair for Circuit Design and Network Theory, Dresden, Germany

* Corresponding author: p.boelens@hzdr.de


Modern electronic devices play a crucial role for evolving the technological landscape within the European Union and to facilitate the transition into a future energy system based on renewables. However, such devices typically incorporate 20-60 different raw materials, including many that face significant supply risks and that have been categorized either as “critical” or even “strategic”. Moreover, the extraction of these much needed raw materials from geogenic ore deposits is typically energy intensive and results in significant environmental impacts. Although current flows of waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) contain greatly elevated concentrations of many of these raw materials – often exceeding concentrations in geogenic ore deposits – only a very small number of them are typically recovered as secondary raw materials. The development of concepts and technologies required for a more comprehensive recycling typically faces practical challenges, mainly due to the complex composition of WEEE and the minute scale of its components.

To overcome the challenges of recovering multiple metals from WEEEs, this study proposes a workflow to evaluate the recyclability of state-of-the-art electronic devices by detailed characterization of components and a particle-based evaluation of the separation efficiency of target components with several separation technologies. A case study is used to illustrate the intended workflow. The investigated flow sheet comprises comminution of WEEE to obtain particle sizes in the scale of individual electronic components, followed by subsequent physical separation processes, including size, density, magnetic and eddy current separation. The particles present in the various streams of each processing step are characterized by X-ray computed tomography (CT) to obtain their 3D geometrical properties and composition in metallic and polymeric phases. These particle datasets are then used for particle-based separation modelling, to quantify the influence of particle size, shape, liberation, and association in their recovery. In future work, this approach will be used to evaluate recyclability already during the design of electronic devices, also considering exergy and life-cycle assessment perspectives.

Copyright: private

Dr Michelle Browne | Lightning Talks
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Germany

Dr Michelle Browne is a Helmholtz Young Investigator group leader at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (Germany) since July 2022. Her group is developing and understanding new materials, including MXenes, for the generation of green hydrogen via electrochemical water splitting.

Michelle obtained her Ph.D in Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Ireland and conducted her post-doctoral research in Czech Republic, Ireland and the United Kingdom.  Michelle is on the committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry Electrochemistry Interest group, Electrochemistry editor for Results in Chemistry, and a member of the Advisory Board of ChemElectroChem and the Journal of Solid-State Electrochemistry. To date, Michelle has received numerous awards for her research including the Curious Minds Research Award 2023, International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE) Elsevier Prize for Applied Electrochemistry award 2021, L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women in Science 2021 Rising Talent fellowship and the Clara Immerwahr award 2021 from UniSysCat.

In a research lab setting the results dictate if the material warrants further testing/optimisation or if the material is to be omitted from study. Therefore, the initial evaluation of OER materials are extremely important. Currently in literature, the benchmark performance indicators used to evaluate OER catalysts for PEM and AEM electrolysis is (1) the potential achieved at a current density of 10 mA cm-2 and (2) prolonged stability tests (at 10 mA cm-2) in a conventional three-electrode static or rotating disc electrode (RDE) cell set-up. However, there are major discrepancies in the operating parameters between a conventional three-electrode cell and an electrolyser device. A second major disadvantage associated with the three-electrode cell is that the catalysts cannot be evaluated at common electrolyser current densities (over 1 A cm-2).

In this talk, I will show how common green H2 materials perform in these two platforms and how we can bridge the gap between academic and industrial experimental protocols for green hydrogen production.

Copyright: private

Dr Aleš Bulc | Pitches
Wood E&IS (Renewables) GmbH, Slovenia

Dr Bulc produced several renewable synthetic fuels like first fully renewable isobutene at Demo plant in Leuna, isooctane, ETBE, renewable gasoline and kerosene. He was a Project manager for a SAF refinery via FT process for an IPCEI approved project.
Besides developing and managing large renewable projects, Dr Bulc helped writing National Hydrogen Strategy for Serbia and consulted on Hydrogen, CCUS and DAC CO2 projects for major German Clients.
Dr Bulc is a co-author of 2 patents, author of several scientific publications and frequent presenter at various conferences.

As we are talking about decarbonization and energy transition, we recognize that hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel and raw material. We are hoping that costs of green hydrogen will drop in the coming years and become commercially competitive to grey H2 obtained by steam cracking the natural gas. But we cannot afford to just hope, we need to plan and act to achieve this goal. Interestingly, there are just 2 key drivers: the cost of green electricity to produce green H2 and the cost of CO2 emissions attached to grey H2. With every solar and wind park put into operation we install the excess capacity that will produce ever more inexpensive electricity at certain times. On the other hand, as Co2 is not directly toxic we allowed the industry to release this process waste into air without paying for it. The same as liquid waste polluted our rivers before we mandated wastewater treatments, we need to mandate CO2 emissions as they are toxic for our environment. In the meantime while this 2 processes (inexpensive electricity) and regulated Co2 emissions are inadvertently happening we need to build Hydrogen economy to gradually decrease the CAPEX, mainly the costs of electrolysers and build the infrastructure to be able to efficiently ship hydrogen from where it is produced to where it is consumed. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the key drivers and activities needed to positively influence them.

Copyright: private

Dr Šárka Cabadová Waisová | Lightning Talks
Czech Hydrogen Technological Platform, Czech Republic

Šárka Waisová is Associate Professor of International Relations. She has previously worked at universities in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Taiwan. Her publications cover critical strategic raw materials, Chinese influence in Central Europe and environmental security. Šárka is currently working as a senior analyst for legislation and strategies at the Czech Hydrogen Technology Platform (HYTEP). Her research focuses on the transposition of EU norms into Czech legislation, geopolitical issues related to the development of the hydrogen ecosystem and obstacles to the development of the Czech hydrogen economy.

Hydrogen is currently enjoying a widespread momentum in the energy market. As concerns about climate change and fossil fuels import dependence are increasing, governments are looking at hydrogen as a possible solution to reach carbon neutrality and energy security goals. The Czech Republic is also turning its eyes to hydrogen. Hydrogen visionaries see renewable hydrogen playing a pivotal role in the transition to a low-carbon industry, transportation and heating as well as ensuring energy security. In the case of the Czech Republic, however, such optimism is not appropriate. The Czech Republic is facing many obstacles in building a clean hydrogen ecosystem. Some of these obstacles are relatively easy to remove (lack of legislation), but others are fundamental and difficult to remove (geographic location and minimal access to abundant renewable energy resources). The aim of this presentation is to analyse the barriers that are difficult to remove and the opportunities that the Czech Republic must overcome them. This analysis will point out, among other things, that in the first phase of the development of the Czech clean hydrogen economy, a domestic renewable hydrogen production system must be established, but with the development of the European Hydrogen Backbone and the hydrogen import system, Czech renewable hydrogen producers will most likely disappear as their hydrogen production will not be price competitive. This fact puts any promotion of any domestic renewable hydrogen production in the Czech Republic in a problematic light and raises many questions.

Copyright: private

Dr Attila Cangi | Lightning Talks
Center for Advanced Systems Understanding, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany

Attila Cangi is head of the Machine Learning for Materials Design department at the Center for Advanced Systems Understanding, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. With his team, he conducts research on the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to computational materials modeling. His main goal is to develop AI-based solutions for sustainable materials, focusing on areas such as thermoelectric materials, spintronics, neuromorphic devices, and advanced semiconductor modeling. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, and previously worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics and as a staff member at Sandia National Laboratories.

Copyright: private

Dr Sascha Creutzburg | Pitches
SAXONY.ai & Walter IT-Solutions GbR

Dr Sascha Creutzburg is a physicist currently working as a data scientist at saxony.ai, where he develops digital twin technologies for fuel cell vehicles. His doctoral research at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf focused on nanostructuring 2D materials using ion beams. Today, he uses his skills in data analysis and visualization to advance innovative solutions in sustainable technologies.

The Fraunhofer Institute IWU and SAXONY.ai are developing an AI-based digital twin for PEM fuel cell systems in the „HZwo-DigiTwin“ project. We take leverage on machine learning and advanced modeling to precisely simulate and analyze system behavior. The integration of relevant operating data ultimately allows a precise prediction of system behavior and optimization of operational management. The main objectives are to improve system efficiency and sustainability by optimizing hydrogen consumption. Furthermore, the AI-based digital twin enables the analysis of complex data patterns, making control strategies for predictive maintenance feasible. Our approach not only offers the potential for improved operating strategies, but also helps to reduce operating costs and increase the marketability of PEM fuel cell systems. In particular, overall efficiency is increased and the service life of critical components is extended.

Copyright: private

Jo De Boeck | The Green Future of Microelectronics in Europe
Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) and EVP at imec, Belgium

Jo De Boeck received his EE (1986) and PhD (1991) degrees from the University of Leuven.  Since 1986 he is with imec (HQ Leuven, Belgium). In his research career, he has been leading activities on integration of novel materials at device level and new functionalities at systems level.  In 2003 he became Vice President at IMEC for the Microsystems division and in 2005 joined imec’s executive board and started first imec entity outside Belgium (Holst Centre, Netherlands).   He headed imec’s Smart Systems and Energy Technology Business Unit. In 2011 he became imec’s Chief Technology Officer and in 2018 he was appointed Chief Strategy Officer. His focus areas as EVP are public-private partnerships, government relations, the imec innovation investment pipeline for breakthrough R&D and spin-offs, the imec.istart venture accelerator and academic relations, including imec associated PhDs and PostDocs.

He has been a NATO Science Fellow at Bellcore (USA, 1991-92) and AST-fellow in the Joint Research Center for Atom Technology (Japan, 1998). He is part-time professor at the KU Leuven and was a visiting professorship at the TU Delft, Kavli Institute for Nanoscience (2003–2016).

Copyright: Tobias Ritz

Prof. Kerstin Eckert | Shaping the Future
Head Transport Processes at Interfaces, Institute of Fluid Dynamics, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany


The evolution of bubbles during alkaline and PEM electrolysis causes bubble-induced overvoltages which are one of the reasons for the unsufficient energy efficiency of current electrolyzers. Thus, a study of bubble dynamics at electrodes can help to develop strategies to mitigate these overvoltages.

Using a combination of high-speed shadowgraphy, schlieren images and particle image velocimetry we present characteristic features of growth and detachment of hydrogen and oxygen bubbles.

Furthermore, specific differences between both gas types are discussed.

Copyright: Martin Lahousse

Dr Christian Ehler | Opening
Member of the European Parliament, Germany

Dr Christian Ehler has been a Member of the European Parliament for Brandenburg since 2004 and belongs to the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP/CDU). He has been a Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) for over ten years and has been its coordinator for the EPP since the beginning of this legislative period. As rapporteur for Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) and Horizon Europe (2021-2027), Dr Christian Ehler is considered one of the leading figures in the design and implementation of the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. He is the initiator of the ITRE working group on the implementation of the Framework Programme, which ensures close parliamentary scrutiny of Europe’s research and innovation funding. Furthermore, Dr Christian Ehler is Chair of the European Parliament’s think tank STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment).

One of Dr. Ehlers main priorities is to ensure Europe’s excellence in science, technology and innovation in all sectors, including health, digital and climate. As Rapporteur for Horizon Europe, he has put forward a number of instruments to reduce the administrative burden for researchers and SMEs and for boosting public-private partnerships contributing to achieving EU climate and digital goals.

In addition to his engagement in the field of research an innovation, in the European Parliament Dr Christian Ehler is also Member of the US Delegation and substitute Member of the Committee on Culture and Education, the Delegation for relations with Israel and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Copyright: EPFL Nicolas Schopfer

Prof. Ambrogio Fasoli | Shaping the Future
Program Manager (CEO), EUROfusion, Switzerland

He is the Program Manager (CEO) of the European Consortium for Fusion Energy, EUROfusion, the Director of the Swiss Plasma Center at EPFL, and the Delegate to the Provost of EPFL. 

Ambrogio Fasoli, an honorary member of the American Physical Society, studied at the University of Milan and obtained his Ph.D. at EPFL, then, after conducting experiments on the European JET tokamak in the United Kingdom, became a professor at MIT, in the US, where he worked from 1997 to 2001, before being appointed at EPFL. From 2014 through 2020 he has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Nuclear Fusion journal, of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The European roadmap provides a holistic view covering all aspects and the remaining challenges that need to be tackled before realizing a fusion power plant. The most important elements of the European fusion roadmap are the international ITER experiment, the DEMO demonstration plant and the IFMIF-DONES neutron source for testing and validation of materials. In the rapidly changing international fusion landscape, the EUROfusion Consortium  is proposing to adapt the European fusion programme to support the ongoing re-baselining of ITER as well as to realise DEMO at the fastest possible time scale by an R&D and design programme that is parallel to ITER operation.

Copyright: private

Ing. Jafar Fathi | Lightning Talks
Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic

Jafar Fathi is a Ph.D. candidate researcher at the Institute of Plasma Physics, Prague. He has more than ten years of experience in plasma sciences and technology. Right now, he has one EU-cofounded project under the MSCA CZ OP JAK grant.

topic: Investigation of CO2-Free Methane Decomposition by Plasma-Assisted Thermo-Catalytic Hybrid (PATCH) System to Achieve High-Yield Hydrogen and Pure Carbon Black as Product.

Acronym: H2PATCH

According to the Climate Crisis and Clean Energy Challenge, decarbonization of energy suppliers and industrial activity is vital. The main source of carbon dioxide that humans cause is fossil fuels. Nowadays, alternative energy sources as well as renewable ones are introduced. However, the decarbonization of fossil fuels is still a challenge.

Plasma pyrolysis technology represents a groundbreaking approach to decarbonization and energy transition by utilizing high-power microwave plasma to decompose organic-based materials, such as methane, into hydrogen and solid carbon nanomaterials. This innovative method, known as Plasma Methane Pyrolysis (PMP), offers a sustainable pathway for transforming carbonaceous waste into valuable resources. By breaking down methane molecules at high temperatures, PMP produces hydrogen gas, a clean energy source, and solid carbon nanomaterials with diverse applications in various industries. This lecture explores the principles of plasma pyrolysis technology, its potential for decarbonization, and its role in advancing toward a greener and more sustainable future.

Copyright: private

Dr Jose Hugo Garcia Aguilar | Lightning Talks
Fundacio Institut Catala De Nanociencia I Nanotecnologia, Spain

Dr José H. Garcia, a Senior Researcher at ICN2, brings a decade of expertise in theoretical simulations of quantum electronic devices using low-symmetry materials. He currently leads the ERC Starting Grant project AI4SPIN, focusing on unlocking the potential of electronic structures databases through advanced quantum transport calculations, heuristic optimization, and AI to develop next-generation memories. Garcia is the principal developer of the LINQT code on the LSQUANT platform, enabling linear-scaling quantum transport across various models. His work extends to creating algorithms now integral to other quantum transport software. Garcia has managed research teams and contributed significantly as PI and Co-PI on multiple projects.

In this lightning talk, I’ll provide a quick overview of the potential synergies between artificial intelligence and material science, highlighting how these are already unfolding in Europe. I will specifically focus on elucidating which fields of electronics could greatly benefit from leveraging artificial intelligence, along with the associated challenges and opportunities.

Copyright: SMWK / Ben Gierig

Sebastian Gemkow  | Opening
Saxon State Minister for Science, Culture and Tourism, Germany

Copyright: private

Dr Tino Gottschall| Pitches
Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany

Tino Gottschall is a senior researcher at the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). In 2016, he defended his doctoral thesis in the field of magnetic refrigeration for room-temperature application at TU Darmstadt. End of 2016, he moved to the University of Barcelona as a postdoctoral researcher and since May 2017 he has been working at the HZDR on the advanced characterization of magnetic materials in static and pulsed magnetic fields. In 2019, the startup MAGNOTHERM was founded, of which he is one of the co-founders. The company aims at the market entry of magnetic refrigeration for room-temperature applications. Last year, the HZDR and MAGNOTHERM entered a strategic partnership to jointly advance the development of magnetic hydrogen liquefaction.


Magnetic cooling is a refrigeration technique based on the so-called magnetocaloric effect, the change of temperature caused by a magnetic field. It can be utilized to construct environmentally friendly cooling devices, air conditioners, and heat pumps. Originally, magnetic cooling was used to achieve ultra-low temperatures near absolute zero. Recently, low temperatures have once again become the focus of attention as an area of application for magnetocaloric cooling namely for efficient hydrogen liquefaction. In this presentation, I will highlight the current status in the development of the first European hydrogen liquefier based on the principle of the magnetocaloric effect. The basis for this is our research infrastructure at the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory, which includes both static and pulsed fields. Our aim is to gain a better understanding of the magnetocaloric materials required for the cooling process and drastically increase the energy efficiency of hydrogen liquefaction compared to conventional technology.

Copyright: private

Dr Ali Javed | Lightning Talks
Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

He is leading “The Cell Testing Team” within the functional materials department at IEK-9, Forschungszentrum Jülich. The team is investigating experimental solutions to enhance PEM electrolyzer performance by mitigating degradation rates. His previous postdoctoral work focused on proton conductivity in nanomaterials at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. In 2022, he received a doctorate degree from the University of Paderborn in Germany. His research, part of the COORNETs project, focused on the experimental investigation of proton-conducting MOF materials. At the German Aerospace Center in Stuttgart, he conducted research on SOFC anode catalyst as the subject of his master thesis.

Ali Javed*, André Karl, Hans Kungl, Eva Jodat, Rüdiger-A. Eichel
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Fundamentals of Electrochemistry IEK-9

In recent years, green hydrogen generation by water electrolysis has emerged as a potential integral part of modern and sustainable energy conversion systems. This is due to the modularity of electrolyzers, which allows for the generation of power-to-gas plants on a megawatt scale.1 Polymer electrolyte membrane electrolytic cells (PEMEC) is one of the electrolyzer types that fulfills the requirements for fast dynamic response, simple implementation, high efficiency, and high purity of hydrogen.2 Despite being a cutting-edge technology, PEMEC is still in the early stages of commercialization.

PEMEC can be commercialized faster by overcoming current challenges such as failure diagnosis, failure mitigation, long-term sustainability, etc. Analytical and numerical methods have been reported to evaluate the performance of this dynamic system.3 However, these methods have only been investigated for a limited range of data, with some assumptions.4 In this case, it is necessary to perform a long-term study with data processing under real conditions.

In this work, physical and electrical diagnostic tools were proposed to ensure a precise assessment of the degradation rate and health status of an operating PEMEC. These health indicators can be monitored via multiple sensors, which provide control over each subsystem of the PEMEC system. Monitoring the data over time can map a correlation between these sensing parameters that can track the degradation process. Further, the use of a data-driven approach can build an incremental model that can determine the cause of voltage rise or drop during the operation of a running electrolyzer. This can contribute to the early detection of faults and prevent serious damage to the system. Moreover, the remaining useful life can be evaluated.

  1. Abomazid, A. M., El-Taweel, N. A. & Farag, H. E. Z. Novel Analytical Approach for Parameters Identification of PEM Electrolyzer. IEEE Trans Industr Inform 18, 5870–5881 (2022).
  2. Siracusano, S. et al. Optimization of components and assembling in a PEM electrolyzer stack. Int J Hydrogen Energy 36, 3333–3339 (2011).
  3. Toghyani, S. et al. Optimization of operating parameters of a polymer exchange membrane electrolyzer. Int J Hydrogen Energy 44, 6403–6414 (2019).
  4. Falcão, D. S. & Pinto, A. M. F. R. A review on PEM electrolyzer modelling: Guidelines for beginners. J Clean Prod 261, 121184 (2020).

This work was financially supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF): Wasserstoff – Leitprojekt H2Giga, Teilvorhaben DERIEL (project number 03HY122C).

*corresponding author: a.javed@fz-juelich.de

Patrick Kabasci| Pitches
Innovation Center GmbH (INC), Germany

As we strive for a net-zero future, AI is emerging as a powerful ally against waste in energy, materials, and resource utilization. This talk explores how AI optimizes complex processes, historically in cost-intensive areas, but now increasingly accessible due to advancements in data management and AI tools. Highlighting the shift from perfection to pragmatic, human-AI collaboration, it reveals how a new generation adept at leveraging AI can drive transformative change across industries. Join us to critically examine where AI truly helps versus mere technological hype.

Copyright: private

Dr Boštjan Končar | Lightning Talks
Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI), Slovenia

Boštjan Končar is Head of the Slovenian Fusion Association (SFA), scientific advisor at JSI and Slovenian delegate to the EURATOM Fusion Programme Committee. He holds a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana, and was a visiting scientist at the Forschungszentrum Dresden Rossendorf in 2004. He is leading the national research programme on Fusion Technologies. His research focuses on numerical and experimental investigations in the fields of two-phase flow and heat transfer, nuclear thermohydraulics and fusion reactor systems.

The development of fusion technologies requires a multidisciplinary approach and specific skills, where research groups in smaller countries can play a key role in advancing some specific areas. The experimental facilities at the Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI) in Slovenia are such an example, making a significant contribution within the EUROfusion programme. The water activation loop, with a well-defined neutron and gamma ray source, addresses challenges of understanding dose rates around the water-cooling channels of future fusion reactors ITER and DEMO. The JSI 2MV Tandetron accelerator uses its niche capabilities to investigate processes of hydrogen atom interaction with fusion-relevant materials. The most recent asset is a small thermohydraulic loop, designed to understand and improve the cooling processes in plasma-facing components.

Copyright: Detlev Mueller

Dr Michael Kraft | Pitches
TU Bergakademie Freiberg

Dr Michael Kraft is a scientist at the Institute of Chemical Technology at TU Bergakademie Freiberg. His research focuses on the development and application of climate-neutral building materials, in particular geopolymer building materials, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions, utilising secondary raw materials and creating a circular economy.


The ZauBer research project aims to realise the recycling of ferrous mine sludge from a technical perspective. The main focus here is on the extraction of valuable materials and the stabilisation of the residues in new types of elution-stable building materials. The technical work planned for the project centres on the Rote Graben near Freiberg as an example. Within the project period, a demonstrator plant is to be built directly at the trench in order to test the developed technologies and processes in a real environment. The project as a whole provides a future-oriented and sustainable contribution to environmentally relevant issues in the field of mine water and sludge, which can be scaled up internationally by regional partners and integrates public acceptance. In this way, old mine workings contribute to the global goals of protecting the climate and re-sources in the form of marketable, innovative products made from mine sludge. The legacy of Saxon mining is thus being inverted from a problem case into a new raw mate-rial extraction concept that has already attracted nationwide attention.

Copyright: private

Dr Ivan Kraljevski | Pitches
Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden

Ivan Kraljevski, born in 1974 in Emmen, the Netherlands, holds degrees in Electronics and Telecommunications (B.Sc., 1997), Computer Technology and Informatics (M.Sc., 2000), and a Ph.D. (2004) from the University “St. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, Macedonia. He worked as a researcher in speech technology at TU-Dresden (2011-2013) and is currently a research associate at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden, Germany. His research interests include speech and audio signal processing, speech recognition and synthesis, machine and deep learning.


Copyright: private

Prof. Dominik Kraus | Lightning Talks
University of Rostock, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)

Dominik Kraus is a professor for high energy density physics at University of Rostock and group leader at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) in Germany. He received his PhD at TU Darmstadt, Germany in 2012 for experimental work at the PHELIX laser of GSI Helmholtzzentrum for heavy ion research. He then moved to UC Berkeley as a postdoc to conduct experiments at the Linac Coherent Light Source of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and at the National Ignition Facility of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 2016, he joined HZDR as a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group Leader to work towards first experiments using the Helmholtz International Beamline for Extreme Fields (HIBEF) at the High Energy Density instrument of European XFEL. Before starting the professorship in Rostock in 2020, he also headed the high energy density division at HZDR from 2018 to 2020.

Experiments at the National Ignition Facility of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US have produced the first burning fusion plasmas in the laboratory. Around the globe, this remarkable success has sparked numerous initiatives towards a first power plant, including large-scale public and private investments. Indeed, substantial advancements in laser technology suggest that an inertial fusion power plant could become a reality. But what does it need on this path? Is fusion energy now solely an engineering problem?

Copyright: private

Prof. Jakub Kupecki | Pitches
Institute of Power Engineering - National Research Institute, Center for Hydrogen Technologies, Poland

Prof. Jakub Kupecki - project manager, task leader and contractor in more than 60 projects related to power engineering and hydrogen technologies funded by the national funding agencies, EC, DoE/DoS, ESA and directly by the industry. Double Fulbrighter with diplomas from Warsaw University of Technology, University of Iceland and University of Akureyri, and from Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley in commercialization of R&D and leading research teams. Leads CTH2 IPE-NRI which is focused on R&D activities in the field of electrolysis, and the transfer of technology to industrial applications.


Institute of Power Engineering – National Research Institute (IPE-NRI) within its Center for Hydrogen Technologies (CTH2) accelerates the development of hydrogen technologies. The flagship product of the CTH2 – stack of solid oxide cells (SOC), and systems with these stack can operated in a fuel cell mode (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell or SOFC) generating electricity and by-product heat or in electrolysis mode (Solid Oxide Electrolyzer or SOE) generating hydrogen and by-product oxygen. SOC stacks by IPE-NRI are produced using additive manufacturing and low-waste techniques, and were so far commercialized in several industries,. CTH2 IPE-NIRE current seek new applications.

Copyright: Pawel Sosnowski

Michael Kretschmer |  Panel Discussion
Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony, Germany

Copyright: private

Patrik Majringer | Pitches
NORICUM, s.r.o, Czech Republic

Mgr. Patrik Majringer, builder, lecturer and supplier of hemp-based building materials. Director of the Czech Hemp Institute and member of the Circular Economy Working Group of the Czech Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Hemp in construction, an old-fashioned building material for a sustainable future. Hemp insulation, impregnating varnishes and oils from hemp seeds, hemp ropes and hemp concrete - Hempcrete.

Copyright: private

Prof. Victor Malka | Lightning Talks
Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Victor Malka, Professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and Scientific Director in ELI-NP in Romania. He has obtained his PhD thesis at Ecole Polytechnique in 1990 where he has been a CNRS Exceptional Class Research Director and a Professor at Ecole Polytechnique. His initial research work was on atomic physics and laser confinement fusion. His work is now mainly devoted to relativistic laser plasma interaction, laser plasma accelerators, and their related societal applications in which he made several breakthrough contributions.

In addition to the dual 10 PW that is the most powerful laser in the world, ELI NP is delivering to the user community access to the many experimental areas where the versatile laser can deliver its energy with a wide range of parameters. This unique European Facility will permit to breakthrough discoveries in nuclear, high field and plasma domains together with societal applications in medicine, biology and security. Interestingly the facility could contribute to progress on some aspect of laser inertial fusion.

Michal Maly | Pitches
Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU), Czech Republic

Michal Maly is a P.h.D. Student and a junior researcher at the Faculty of Transportation Sciences and the Department of Vehicle Technology. He is involved in several research projects as a technical project manager focusing on advanced vehicle assistance systems, simulation SW and HW, and alternative propulsion systems. He is volunteering in the CTU Lions motorcycle racing team.

The Hydrocycle project is dedicated to developing a hydrogen-powered motorcycle designed to innovate the future of mobility, especially for compact vehicles. This visionary project is led by a collaborative Czech-Saxon research consortium, comprising organizations such as Fraunhofer IWU, WätaS Wärmetauscher Sachsen, 1to1design, Czech Technical University, and ÚJV Řež. The project evolved as a direct response to a call for joint projects focused on sustainable mobility and transportation systems.

Copyright: Nadia Barth

Dr Silvia Masillo | Lightning Talks
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Silvia Masillo is a research scientist at the Swiss Plasma Center, EPFL. After earning a Master's in Astronautics and Space Engineering from Sapienza University of Rome, she embarked on a PhD at the University of Surrey, UK. Her research focused on the experimental characterization of a novel Hall effect-based thruster, contributing to advancements in plasma propulsion systems for small satellites. In 2023, she transitioned to fusion power research, joining the Tokamak Physics group at the Swiss Plasma Center, where she works on X-ray diagnostics for the Tokamak à Configuration Variable (TCV) and focuses on the study of the plasma core in tokamaks.

As the quest for sustainable energy solutions intensifies, the Swiss Plasma Center's Tokamak à Configuration Variable (TCV) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) plays a pivotal role in fusion research within the EUROfusion consortium. Addressing critical challenges ahead of ITER and future fusion power plants, TCV stands for its significant educational role in training the next generation of fusion scientists and engineers. The recent technical advances in upgraded heating systems, expanded diagnostic capabilities, and advanced control systems, coupled with its renowned plasma shaping and control techniques, make TCV an essential experimental platform for the Swiss Plasma Center's local teams and its international partners. In parallel, modeling and computational advancements complement the experimental breakthrough, deepening the understanding of complex plasma behaviors and steering the design of future fusion power plants.

Copyright: private

Iwona Masłowska Lipowicz | Pitches
Łukasiewicz - Łódzki Instytut Technologiczny, Poland

Iwona Masłowska-Lipowicz, PhD, experience: chemical synthesis, pharmacological research, dyes, auxiliary agents - application to textile materials, enzymatic and antimicrobial technology of textile finishing; scientific interests: chemical synthesis, application of new substances to materials, chemistry of food, cosmetics and materials, recovery of valuable components from waste biomass. Contractor and manager in numerous national projects, e.g. Innovative Distribution System for Healthy and Regional Food, and international projects, e.g. Development of microbiologically active, user and environmentally friendly materials for light industry. In 2023, winner of the grand prize at Demo Day of the Lukasiewicz Accelerator programme, for the project "Lightweight structural material from mycelium".

Materials based on mycelium, which grows on industrial and food waste, can be used for energy-efficient and sustainable construction applications. Mycelium grows to fill any mould, allowing various structures to be formed, even in complex shapes. Higher fungi are characterised by low requirements during cultivation, so the main benefits of using this prototype are: lower production cost, lower energy consumption, reduced use of chemicals, lower impact on the environment. In addition, the product is completely biodegradable.

Copyright: private

Dr Jakub Med | Pitches
Institute of Power Engineering - National Research Institute, Center for Hydrogen Technologies, Poland

Jakub Med recieved his PhD in computational atmospheric chemistry. He is also an International Max Planck School Fellow. He has worked in chemical industry as a consultant since 2021. Currently he specializes in decarbonization pathways in chemical industry and in hydrogen production.

Hydrogen production via electrolysis is one of the main pillars in decarbonization of chemical industry. The technical solution is already well addressed and production plants are emerging Europe-wide. The economic side of the project is more challenging and location-dependent, especially in regions with lower RES share in the energy mix. Maximization of electrolyzer utilization is one of the key aspects. We have also tackled another possible revenue stream - grid balancing services and operation issues it brings.

Copyright: Tobias Ritz ct.qmat

Dr Tobias Meng | Lightning Talks
Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat, Dresden University of Technology, Germany

He is heading the "Quantum Design“ group at the Dresden University of Technology. Together with his team, he researches how quantum materials can be used to create novel functionalities. Dr. Meng’s groundbreaking research was recognized by the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz price in 2022.

Quantum technology holds extraordinary promises for future technological applications such as quantum information technology.  It may furthermore pave the way for outstandingly energy-efficient devices. To turn these dreams into reality, however, three important goals need to be met. First, the complex physics of the quantum materials used to build future devices needs to be thoroughly understood. Second, novel quantum states need to be created in these materials. Third, control over these quantum states is crucial for them to unfold their full potential in devices.

Dušan Poliaček | Pitches
1to1design, Prague, Czech Republic

Dušan Poliaček is the founder and managing director of 1to1design, an industrial design and engineering studio based in Prague. The company focuses on current and future transportation concepts and solutions. The latest projects include a hydrogen motorcycle, an autonomous flying drone taxi, and an ultra-light-weight transport and manipulation system for complex disabled children. 1to1design further specializes in the cabin development of construction and municipal vehicles worldwide. The work focuses on lightweight construction, concept model development, moc-ups, and prototypes. Dušan received a Diploma as an Industrial Designer from the University of Fine Arts, Braunschweig, DE, and a Diploma as a Mechanical Engineer from the Technical University Braunschweig, DE. He has over 28 years of experience in industrial design and construction of vehicles.

The Hydrocycle project is dedicated to developing a hydrogen-powered motorcycle designed to innovate the future of mobility, especially for compact vehicles. This visionary project is led by a collaborative Czech-Saxon research consortium, comprising organizations such as Fraunhofer IWU, WätaS Wärmetauscher Sachsen, 1to1design, Czech Technical University, and ÚJV Řež. The project evolved as a direct response to a call for joint projects focused on sustainable mobility and transportation systems.

Copyright: private

Dr Janez Potočnik | Keynote
Co-Chair International Resource Panel - IRP, Slovenia

Janez Potočnik is a Slovenian politician who served as European Commissioner for Environment from 2009 until 2014. He was formerly Slovenia's Minister for European Affairs. In November 2014, he became co-chair of the International Resource Panel (IRP), a forum of scientists and experts working on natural resources management.

Copyright: Lehigh University

Prof. Srinivas Rangarajan | Shaping the Future
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA, USA

Srinivas Rangarajan is an Associate Professor and the Dolores T. and William E. Schiesser Faculty Fellow at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Lehigh University. Srinivas started at Lehigh in 2017 as an Assistant Professor; prior to that, he was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Srinivas obtained his PhD degree from the University of Minnesota and his undergraduate degree from IIT Madras, India, both in chemical engineering. Srinivas’s research is at the intersection of catalysis, machine learning, and process systems engineering; his group develops and applies novel computational tools to elucidate reaction mechanisms of emerging catalytic systems. His research has been recognized with an NSF Early Career Award, ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award, and the David Smith Graduate Publication Award from the CAST division of AIChE. His research is (or has been) supported by the National Science Foundation, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, Department of Energy, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the industry.

The chemical industry accounts for 900 million tons of CO2 emissions globally and about 30% of the energy needs of the US manufacturing sector. Much of the “raw material” and energy needs of the industry are met from fossil sources. Consequently, a sustainable, net-zero world necessarily requires a “green” and “decarbonized” chemical industry to provide clean, equitable, and affordable energy carriers, chemicals, and materials essential for our lives. This requires completely redesigning our chemical processes to: (1) convert waste sources of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen to drop-in chemicals and energy carriers that are carbon neutral and circular; (2) leverage renewable energy to drive these chemical transformations; and (3) employ molecules and materials that are earth abundant and environmentally benign. This is intrinsically a problem of multiple length and time scales, since the development of a new molecule, material, or a chemistry cannot happen without simultaneously considering questions at higher scales/scope. Therefore, addressing these challenges requires multidisciplinary teams.

In this context, this talk will provide an overview of US (and my) perspectives and priorities on net-zero manufacturing of chemicals and energy carriers, and the fundamental chemistry and materials challenges that arise. Subsequently, I will present vignettes of fundamental catalysis research questions that my group and our collaborators at Lehigh are pursuing in electrochemical CO2 conversion, plasma-enhanced catalysis, hydrogen storage and transportation, and data-driven methodological developments to model and design chemical reaction systems.

Copyright: private

Rok Šabjan | Pitches
COSYLAB, Slovenia

Rok is one of the co-founders of Cosylab, the world leader in big physics control systems and cancer therapy software. His career started after graduation from Physics as a control system developer, followed by being a project manager and group leader. Gradually, he moved more and more into business and sales. He was the account manager for the ITER project for 13 years and was also responsible for Cosylab’s scientific North American business. He is currently the company's Deputy Chief Operations Officer and accountable for its fusion business development.

This talk advocates for rethinking control system development as one of the core components of fusion projects, moving away from bespoke, in-house, developed-as-we-go solutions towards collaborative partnerships with specialized suppliers focusing on more standard and industrial solutions to facilitate early prototyping, cost savings, reduction of schedule risks and avoidance of technical debt for future maintenance and upgrades. By leveraging a focus on systems engineering, sound architecture, and standardized components, the overall risks that the control system presents to the fusion project are significantly reduced.

Copyright: Aleksander Zdjarsky

Dr Anna Sandak | Lightning Talks
InnoRenew CoE, Slovenia

She is the Deputy Director for Science and head of the Materials Department at InnoRenew CoE in Slovenia. She is also an associate professor at the University of Primorska, where she serves as a Management Board member of the New European Bauhaus Academy Pioneer Hub. In 2022 Dr Sandak was awarded the ERC consolidator grant for the project ARCHI-SKIN (101044468-ERC-2021-COG), which aims to push the boundaries of traditional materials toward the development of engineered living materials.

Conventional building materials, such as concrete, metals, and plastics possess a large carbon footprint due to energy-intensive manufacturing and direct emissions during production and operation processes. Engineered living materials (ELM) use an alternative (living) set of building blocks compared with conventional man-made materials. The convergence of engineering, biology, and materials science allows the integration of unicellular and multicellular organisms into next-generation engineered systems. ELMs, being a combination of artificial and biological components, are considered the most relevant contemporary revolution in materials science and engineering. This talk will provide an overview of the prospect of ELMs in the building sector and their potential for shifting conventional construction into living infrastructure.

Copyright: HZDR/Christoph Reichelt

Prof. Sebastian M. Schmidt  |  Opening, Closing
Scientific Director of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), Germany

Sebastian M. Schmidt started his scientific career at the University of Rostock and at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna. He completed his doctorate in theoretical physics in Rostock in 1995. After a scholarship at Tel Aviv University and as a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at Argonne National Laboratory (USA), he took over the leadership of an Emmy Noether junior research group sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG), at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in 2000. From 2007 to 2020, he served as a member of the Board of Directors at the Forschungszentrum Jülich for the areas of matter and information. Since 2012 he holds a professorship for physics at RWTH Aachen University.

Copyright: private

Benjamin Sovacool | Introductory Talk
Institute for Global Sustainability at Boston University, USA

Benjamin Sovacool, Professor of Earth and Environment at Boston University and Founding Director of the Institute for Global Sustainability, is a renowned expert in energy and environmental policy. Previously holding directorial positions at the Sussex Energy Group and the Center for Energy Technologies, his work encompasses energy policy, climate change mitigation, and adaptation, with a keen focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the socio-political aspects of energy decisions.

Sovacool’s research, which has been recognized by figures like former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, contributed as a Lead Author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report. He serves on the Board on Environmental Change and Society for the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. As a highly cited researcher in energy and climate policy controversies, his work has received extensive international media coverage, highlighting his impact on global environmental issues.

Decarbonizing industry represents a complex, daunting technical challenge.  The industrial sector provides critical products such as electronics, machinery, metals, chemicals, and textiles, but is technically “difficult to decarbonize” because of the diversity of fuels and services it harnesses across very heterogenous operations clustered across different types of factories and processes.  This framing as a technical challenge lends itself to technical solutions such as advancing early-stage research and development in carbon capture and utilization and hydrogen technologies, improving the energy-efficiency of industrial processing, scaling new prototypes through demonstrations, electrification of heating, and investing in new sources of low-carbon electricity supply (among others).   However, this framing obscures many of the nontechnical aspects of the industrial decarbonation challenge, aspects that involve social and even ethical considerations. Communities and workers may see their homes and livelihoods tied to oil and gas production and fossil-fuel consuming industries severely disrupted. Whether and how these industries decide to comply with government climate policies and public pressures to phase-out fossil fuels has the potential to transform the cultural, economic and political landscape. These nontechnical elements to industrial decarbonization are explored in this presentation, along with conceptual frameworks focusing on justice (such as Just Transitions) and accelerated low-carbon transitions as a topic.

Copyright: Tadej-Čauševič

Saša Spačal | When Science meets Art 
Post-media artist and researcher,  Republic of Slovenia

Saša Spačal, a postmedia artist, merges living systems research with contemporary art, emphasising the interconnectedness of the environment-culture continuum within
planetary metabolisms. Saša Spačal’s artistic endeavours include developing caring biotechnological methodologies that engage with both organic and mineral soil agents. In parallel, she explores the fragility of posthuman scenarios, weaving mechanical, digital, and organic logics within the realms of contemporary biopolitics and necropolitics. Her works were presented at venues such as ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Ars Electronica, Centre de Cultura Contemporània Barcelona – CCCB, New Tretyakov Gallery and National Art Museum of China.



In 1991, five years after the Chernobyl disaster, twelve radiotrophic fungi species were discovered, using melanin to thrive in radioactive settings, leading to the creation of the Radiotrophic Fungarium. The Fungarium features art pieces that highlight the abilities of these fungi, honor scientific progress, and emphasize the long-term impact of radiation on society and the environment.

Copyright: private

Giovanni Stabile | Lightning Talks
Sant'Anna School for Advanced Studies Pisa, Italy

Giovanni Stabile is an associate professor in numerical analysis at the Sant'Anna School for Advanced Studies in Pisa. From 2022 to 2024, he was an assistant professor (RTD-B) in numerical analysis at the Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Urbino, Italy, and from 2016 to 2022, he was an assistant professor (RTD-A) and previously postDoc at SISSA, in Trieste, Italy. He received his Ph.D. in 2016 from a joint Ph.D. school between the TU Braunschweig in Germany and the University of Florence in Italy. He is a recipient of the ERC Starting Grant "Data Aware efficient models of the urbaN microclimaTE (DANTE)”.

The share of the world’s population living in cities is rapidly increasing, and it is expected to rise to 80% by 2050. It becomes, therefore, crucial to have efficient and reliable methods to model the urban microclimate; in fact, these models can support urban planners and policymakers in creating more comfortable and sustainable cities. Since at the urban level, pollutant dispersion depends on daily weather conditions, computational fluid dynamics models with low time scales, repeated evaluation, and fine mesh discretization must be used. The former requirements translate into huge memory requirements, making it essential to use HPC facilities to get results in reasonable time frames. However, the problem is suitable for employing Reduced Order Models (ROMs) to achieve fast converged solutions with limited loss of accuracy. The developed methodology is used to achieve real-time prediction of urban air pollution generated by vehicular traffic in a portion of the city of Bologna. The problem is parametrized by the direction and intensity of the velocity field at the boundary of the computational domain.

Copyright: private

Dr Toma Toncian | Lightning Talks
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), Germany

PD Dr Toma Toncian is head of the HIBEF department of HZDR located in Schenefeld at the EuXFEL. He is a laser-plasma physicist, with focus of development and applications of short-pulse lasers for the generation of impulsive particle and radiation, and strong-field science. He teaches at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf.

Recent availability of hard x-ray FEL radiation for probing dense and hot matter states has opened new vistas into investigations of HED science.

Here, we show that by the irradiation of a thin wire with single beam Joule-class short-pulse laser, a converging cylindrical shock is generated compressing the wire material to conditions relevant for the above applications. The shockwave was observed using Phase Contrast Imaging employing a hard X-ray Free Electron Laser with unprecedented temporal and spatial sensitivity. The data collected for Cu wires is in agreement with hydrodynamic simulations of an ablative shock launched by a highly-impulsive and transient resistive heating of the wire surface. The subsequent cylindrical shockwave travels towards the wire axis and is predictedto reach a compression factor of 9 and pressures above 800 Mbar.

Copyright: private

Assoc. Prof. Tine Tysmans | Shaping the Future
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Tine Tysmans, graduated MSc in Civil Engineering in 2006, is associate professor at the department of Mechanics of Materials and Constructions at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. In her research towards sustainable construction, she investigates novel concepts for resource-efficient lightweight structures, relying on the possibilities that material innovations bring. Internationally, she is known as an expert in the field of cement composites, active member of RILEM, and was a visiting researcher at Princeton University and ENISE Saint-Etienne. She is also co-founder of the company Konligo, developing efficient and sustainable deployable structures for events.

The construction sector is responsible for 50% of all material flows and 40% of the waste production worldwide. Concrete is still unmistakably the most used manmade material in the world, yet it comes with a huge burden on the environment. This presentation will demonstrate ways to make the building industry more sustainable, by developing innovative constructions that use materials in an efficient way. At present, the dimensions of concrete structures are still too often restricted by the steel reinforcement that is prone to corrosion and may lead to durability issues. Replacing steel by fibre textile reinforcement creates new perspectives for slender concrete structures.  This presentation explores how concrete structures can be reshaped to save materials, speed up the construction or renovation process, and optimize space use.

Copyright: private

Hannes Vogel | Pitches
Proxima Fusion, Germany

Hannes Vogel studied physics at Humboldt University of Berlin and Stockholm University. During his studies, he organized more than 50 scientific events in the German Physical Society and represented the interests of 30,000 young physicists. As a member of the German Commission for UNESCO, he advises the German government on foreign policy. Following his experiences in the German Bundestag and in political consulting, Hannes Vogel became Proxima Fusion’s Public Policy and Partnerships Lead. His tasks include policy work ranging from regional to international level, focusing on public support, funding, regulatory issues, and the development of a fusion ecosystem.


Proxima Fusion is developing commercially scalable fusion power plants based on the QI stellarator approach, aiming to deliver the most reliable source of power for a fully decarbonized economy. Proxima was founded by a group of engineers and physicists from the Max Planck Society, MIT, and Google-X. The company is the first-ever spin-out from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, a world-leading institution in the field that built and operates the W7-X stellarator in Germany, a visionary project funded with $1.5B of public investment. The QI stellarator is unique among fusion concepts in that it offers intrinsic stability and ability to run indefinitely in continuous conditions. Together with its industrial partners, Proxima is working on the world’s first large-scale stellarator coil based on the high-temperature superconducting magnet technology, thus unlocking higher-performance stellarator design points.

Copyright: Hagen Gebauer

Dr Jan-Martin Wiarda | Moderation

He is a Science Journalist, political scientist, economist. Studied in Munich and Chapel Hill (USA).

Copyright: private

Dr Rutger Wijburg | The Green Future of Microelectronics in Europe
Chief Operations Officer at Infineon Technologies, Germany

Rutger Wijburg has been a member of the Management Board of Infineon Technologies AG since 2022, serving as Chief Operations Officer (appointed until March 31, 2025). Born in 1962 in Nijmegen, Netherlands, Rutger Wijburg studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Twente, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1990. He began his professional career at the University of Twente in 1990. Prior to joining Infineon in 2018, he held various senior positions at Philips, NXP, and Globalfoundries


The construction sector is responsible for 50% of all material flows and 40% of the waste production worldwide. Concrete is still unmistakably the most used manmade material in the world, yet it comes with a huge burden on the environment. This presentation will demonstrate ways to make the building industry more sustainable, by developing innovative constructions that use materials in an efficient way. At present, the dimensions of concrete structures are still too often restricted by the steel reinforcement that is prone to corrosion and may lead to durability issues. Replacing steel by fibre textile reinforcement creates new perspectives for slender concrete structures.  This presentation explores how concrete structures can be reshaped to save materials, speed up the construction or renovation process, and optimize space use.

Copyright: private

Dr Marc Zimmer | Pitches
Focused Energy, Germany

Dr Marc Zimmer earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Technische Universität Darmstadt, specializing in laser research. During his Master's, he went to UC Berkeley for his thesis, working on intense particle accelerators. In his Ph.D., Dr. Zimmer combined his expertise in lasers and accelerators, developing laser-driven particle accelerators and demonstrated the first application of a laser-driven neutron source. As a postdoctoral researcher, he significantly contributed to the advancement of laser-driven radiation sources. Since Focused Energy GmbH has been founded in 2021, he has been leading the commercialization of laser-driven particle sources for fusion and related technologies.


Marc Zimmer1, Thomas Rösch1, Thomas Seupel2, Markus Roth1,2

  • Focused Energy GmbH, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany
  • Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany

Nuclear fusion is a long-standing dream of mankind but has always seemed to be 30-50 years away. This has changed in the recent years with significant improvements in related technologies as well as private startups joining the fusion race, significantly reducing the time needed for the first operational fusion power plant. This development was underpinned by the first ever fusion reaction with a positive energy output, produced at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in December 2022, which has been repeated since then for four times.

Focused Energy is a private fusion startup, based in Darmstadt and Austin (USA) that uses similar to the NIF experiment laser-driven inertial confinement fusion, based on Deuterium and Tritium, with the goal of generating electricity by fusion at the end of the next decade. With this in mind, Focused Energy is collecting the experts in this field from all over the World and is rapidly ramping up its capabilities.

While a fusion power plant is still more than a decade away, the technology developed by Focused Energy has led to a spin-off application that enables the non-destructive testing and characterization of low and intermediate level nuclear waste containers. This technology is currently developed in Darmstadt and is based on compact, transportable laser-driven neutron and X-ray sources and can be used for on-site characterization, validation, and content condition verification of waste containers, hydrogen infrastructure and shipping containers.

Copyright: private

Dr Christian Zinke-Wehlmann | Pitches
Institut für Angewandte Informatik (InfAI) e.V.

Dr. Christian Zinke-Wehlmann is a sociologist with a doctorate in Computer Science. He serves as the Director of the KMI Competence Center (Artificial, Human, Intelligent) at Institute of Applied Informatics (InfAI). His work and research reside at the fascinating intersections of digital technology, education, work, and services. Employing his multi-disciplinary expertise, he investigates complex sociotechnical problems that occur within these realms. His work aims not only to understand these intersections but also to develop innovative solutions that harness the power of digital technology to enhance education, optimize work processes, and improve service delivery in our increasingly interconnected world. Accordingly, his commitment is geared towards creating intelligent, human-centered solutions powered by artificial intelligence and other emerging digital technologies.


Martin Zagora | Pitches
Smart Energies Group company, Czech Republic

Martin Zagora has broad experience in the energy sector, leading the innovative HyFlex project, which focuses on flexible hydrogen production and grid balancing. He began his career in consulting with KPMG and Deloitte, gaining experience before moving on to roles at ČEPS, the Czech Transmission System Operator, and ČEZ, a leading power and utility company. Martin's expertise lies in leveraging flexibility from various sources for both trading and grid balancing, uncovering synergies that enhance energy efficiency and sustainability. Martin also collaborates on the educational project "Energy Literacy," aimed at teaching young students the basics of energetics.


Hydrogen production via electrolysis is one of the main pillars in decarbonization of chemical industry. The technical solution is already well addressed and production plants are emerging Europe-wide. The economic side of the project is more challenging and location-dependent, especially in regions with lower RES share in the energy mix. Maximization of electrolyzer utilization is one of the key aspects. We have also tackled another possible revenue stream - grid balancing services and operation issues it brings.

Copyright: private

Prof. Blaž Zupan | Pitches
Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Professor Dr Blaž Zupan teaches artificial intelligence and machine learning at the University of Ljubljana and Baylor College of Medicine. His research has focused on explainable AI and combinations of machine learning and data visualization techniques. He runs a twenty-member bioinformatics laboratory, which also develops Orange (http://orangedatamining.com), a comprehensive open-source toolbox for machine learning.


Yes, everyone should intuitively understand what AI is based on and how it works. AI will change the world; currently, only highly trained engineers know what it does and how. We should democratize knowledge about AI and dramatically increase data literacy training for children, students, decision-makers, and the general population. Europe is lagging behind China and the US in AI, and the only way to catch up is to invest much more in education.