Prof Alex Cowan obtained his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham (2007) for the study of inorganic reaction mechanisms with transient spectroscopy, under the supervision of Prof. Mike George. Following a postdoctoral position at Nottingham developing catalysts for the reduction of carbon dioxide he moved to Imperial College London to study photoelectrochemical water splitting with Prof. David Klug.
In 2011 Alex was appointed to a Lectureship in Renewable Fuel Synthesis at Imperial College on the Artificial Leaf programme. In October 2012 he joined the department of Chemistry and the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy at Liverpool University initially as a Lecturer and he was subsequently promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2015, Reader in 2017 and Professor in 2019. In 2012 Alex was awarded a prestigious 5-year EPSRC early career fellowship and in 2017 he was awarded a further EPSRC fellowship that will run from 2017-2021.
Alex leads an active research group that develops and studies catalysts for the sustainable production of fuels. Recent highlights include the discovery of highly selective catalysts for electrocatalytic carbon dioxide reduciton in acids, the development of new carbon dioxide reduction photocatalysts, new catalysts for water splitting and also the development of surface sensitive spectroscopic techniques to study the mechanisms of electrocatalytic carbon dioxide reduction and water oxidation in-situ. Alex is director of the UK Solar Fuels Network (www.solarfuelsnetwork.com) and he leads the technology development program of the UKRI Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Chemical economy (www.circular-chemical.org). Alongside the teams fundamental research we work with partners in SEAFUEL (www.seafuel.eu) on electrolysis technology deployment and more widely with a range of industry partners on translation of the catalysts discovered into devices. Full details of our research activities can be found here.