Shannon A. Bonke holds an Honours Degree of Bachelor of Science from Monash University where he is currently completing doctoral research under the guidance of Professor Leone Spiccia. A doctorate is expected to be awarded towards the end of 2016 for research focused on solar energy conversion and catalysis. Research highlights include the highest efficiency ever reported for the conversion of solar energy to a fuel.
The fundamental idea of this research is that when a fuel is burnt, energy is released and byproducts are produced. In a situation where excess energy is available, why can't energy be put into the system to reassemble the fuel? Achieving this would allow fuel to be burnt at night and reassembled during the day when solar energy is abundant. This solar energy storage concept, the production of 'solar fuels', allows limitless energy to be produced while remaining carbon-neutral. The cyclic nature means that no true waste is produced.
Shannon A. Bonke has completed academic visits to the University of Warwick (England, through an RSC-RACI grant, 2016) and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (Germany, 2013 & 2016). Studying the catalysis of the chemical reactions necessary for this idea has involved the use of a wide variety of techniques and required visits to synchrotron facilities including the Australian Synchrotron (Melbourne), Photon Factory (Tsukuba, Japan) and BESSY-II (Berlin, Germany).