SOLAR-HProject ID: 516510
Linking molecular genetics and bio-mimetic chemistry - a multidisciplinary approach to achieve renewable hydrogen production
SOLAR-H brings together world-leading laboratories to carry out integrated, basic research on the common goal of hydrogen production from renewable resources. Our multidisciplinary expertise spans from molecular biology, via bio-physics to organometallic and physical chemistry. The vision is to develop novel, today non-existing routes for H2 produc-tion from solar energy and water. In a unique effort the project integrates, for the first time, two frontline topics: artificial photosynthesis in man-made systems, and photo-biological H2 production in living organisms. Hydrogen production by these methods is still distant, but has a vast potential and is of utmost importance for the European economy. The scientific risk is high - the research is very dema nding. Thus, our objective now is to explore, integrate and carry out the basic science necessary to develop these novel routes. Along one track, the knowledge gained from biophysical studies will be exploited by organometallic synthetic chemists for syn thesis of bio-mimetic compounds. The design of these is based on molecular knowledge about natural photosynthesis (natural solar energy conversion), and hydrogenases (enzymes that form H2). Along a second track, we perform research on the genetic level t o increase our understanding of critical steps in photosynthetic alga and cyanobacteria. Detailed knowledge about the enzymes involved, is crucial for the synthetic chemists. These studies are also directly aimed at improvement of the H2 producing capabi lity of the organisms, using genetic and metabolic engineering. Our project intends to link the fragmented European research, and provide the critical mass of expertise that is necessary to challenge the USA in this competitive area with its large future implications.
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