Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Gas Diffusion Electrodes and Flow Cells for Photoelectrochemical CO2 Conversion into Multicarbon Alcohols

Project description

A novel setup recreates photosynthesis for the production of fuels

Scientists and engineers often look to nature for novel and/or efficient ways to do things, from processing information to synthesising molecules and pretty much anything in between. Photosynthesis is an inspiring way to harvest the sun's energy to produce "fuel" from CO2 and water, addressing our desire to both reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and meet energy needs sustainably. However, the photosynthetic process is highly complex and efficient, and therefore difficult to mimic. The EU-funded SolarFUEL project is tackling this problem with the goal of delivering a novel setup that will enable photoelectrochemical CO2 conversion into high energy-density fuels.


Artificial photosynthesis, in which solar energy is directly used to generate fuels and useful chemicals from CO2 and water, is a promising solution to both energy crisis and global warming issues now-a-days. However, implementation of such a sustainable solar-fuel technology requires efficient light harvester and catalyst materials to power the uphill reaction. The proposed project is aimed to develop a novel flow cell set up with gas diffusion photocathode (GDP) for photoelectrochemical CO2 conversion into multicarbon alcohols (high energy density fuels). A layer by layer electrode fabrication method (systematic assembly of diffusion layer, photo-sensitizer, and co-catalyst materials) will be employed to develop a gas diffusion photocathode. Novel co-catalyst activation processes will be used to make the photocathodes active for multicarbon alcohol production. The innovative aspect of “SolarFUEL” is to employ a flow cell/GDP set up for the first time in photoelectrochemistry to produce alcohols from CO2. The cathodic solar CO2 conversion process will be coupled to an anodic solar water oxidation process. Operando spectroscopy studies (Raman, IR, and UV-Vis) will be carried out to monitor the catalyst systems and reaction pathways. The project being at the interface of material synthesis, photo-, electro-chemistry, and spectroscopy, will provide an excellent opportunity for the experienced researcher (ER) to develop profound scientific and technical expertise. In addition, the fellowship will allow the ER to gain complementary skills such as, manuscript preparation, public outreach, networking and collaboration which will be substantially helpful for his future independent career. The combination of the cutting-edge science and training excellence of the project will enhance the ER’s academic career prospect as well as improve the host’s international reputation.


Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
Trinity lane the old schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom

See on map

East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00