Dr. Elitsa Petkucheva, Research Associate in the department “Hydrogen systems with polymer electrolyte” at the Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems (IEES-BAS), is a finalist in the category “Science and/or technological development” of the program “The Outstanding Young Persons of Bulgaria 2020”, part of the international movement Junior Chamber International (JCI). A total of 64 young people were nominated in the ten categories of the program.

Dr. Petkucheva has impressed the members of the jury, the organizers and the audience with her research activities aimed at developing new methods for the production of hydrogen, which is not only an environmentally friendly material but also a flexible energy carrier. Her research is related to the production of cheap bifunctional catalysts for the production and use of hydrogen by the method of magnetron sputtering based on gold, platinum and iridium in regenerative fuel cells. Another area, in which she works, are new photoabsorbers based on iron selenide with application in the photoelectrolysis of water. Photoelectrolysis of water takes place in light collection systems called photoelectrochemical cells based on various photosensitive semiconductor materials. The electric current received in photoelectrochemical cells passes through water and a separation of its components – oxygen and hydrogen occurs on the electrodes. Hydrogen is stored and used to generate electricity. The research of the young scientist has contributed to the development of technologies for the improvement of fuel cells in which the electric current is obtained by combining hydrogen with oxygen from the air in water molecules.

The Outstanding Young Persons of Bulgaria – TOYP Bulgaria is a program that honors the achievements of young Bulgarians who embody positive change and bring it to society and are worthy of example. The aim of the initiative is to make these good examples better known nationally and internationally. The competition is organized by national JCI organizations in over 100 countries.