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Nanodesigned electrochemical converter of solar energy into hydrogen hosting natural enzymes or their mimics

Objective

Leaves can split water into oxygen and hydrogen at ambient conditions exploiting sun light. Prof. James Barber, one of the key players of SOLHYDROMICS, was the recipient of the international Italgas Prize in 2005 for his studies on Photosystem II (PSII), the enzyme that governs this process. In photosynthesis, H2 is used to reduce CO2 and give rise to the various organic compounds needed by the organisms or even oily compounds which can be used as fuels. However, a specific enzyme, hydrogenase, may lead to non-negligible H2 formation even within natural systems under given operating conditions. Building on this knowledge, and on the convergence of the work of the physics, materials scientists, biochemists and biologists involved in the project, an artificial device will be developed to convert sun energy into H2 with 10% efficiency by water splitting at ambient temperature, including: -) an electrode exposed to sunlight carrying PSII or a PSII-like chemical mimic deposited upon a suitable electrode -) a membrane enabling transport of both electrons and protons via e.g. carbon nanotubes or TiO2 connecting the two electrodes and ion-exchange resins like e.g. Nafion, respectively -) a cathode carrying the hydrogenase enzyme or an artificial hydrogenase catalyst in order to recombine protons and electrons into pure molecular hydrogen at the opposite side of the membrane The project involves a strong and partnership hosting highly ranked scientists (from the Imperial College London, the Politecnico di Torino and the GKSS research centre on polymers in Geesthacht) who have a significant past cooperation record and four high-tech SMEs (Solaronix, Biodiversity, Nanocyl and Hysytech) to cover with expertise and no overlappings the key tasks of enzyme purification and enzyme mimics development, enzyme stabilisation on the electrodes, membrane development, design and manufacturing of the SOLHYDROMICS proof-of-concept prototype, market and technology implementation studies

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/organic chemistry
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/polymer science
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/renewable energy/solar energy
  • /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins/enzymes
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels

Call for proposal

FP7-ENERGY-2008-FET
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

CP - Collaborative project (generic)

Coordinator

POLITECNICO DI TORINO
Address
Corso Duca Degli Abruzzi 24
10129 Torino
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 573 352
Administrative Contact
Guido Saracco (Prof.)

Participants (6)

IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 648 085
Address
South Kensington Campus Exhibition Road
SW7 2AZ London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Brooke Alasya (Ms.)
HELMHOLTZ-ZENTRUM GEESTHACHT ZENTRUM FUR MATERIAL- UND KUSTENFORSCHUNG GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 335 886
Address
Max Planck Strasse 1
21502 Geesthacht
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Andrea Griep (Ms.)
BIODIVERSITY SPA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 356 000
Address
Via Corfu 71
25100 Brescia
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Nicola Rota (Dr.)
SOLARONIX SA
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 266 000
Address
Chemin De L'ouriette 129
1170 Aubonne
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Toby Meyer (Dr.)
NANOCYL SA
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 292 400
Address
Rue De L'essor 4
5060 Sambreville
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Frédéric Luizi (Mr.)
HYSYTECH SRL
Italy
EU contribution
€ 307 956
Address
Strada Del Drosso 33 18
10135 Torino
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Massimiliano Antonini (Mr.)