CORDIS - EU research results

Increasing the scope of CO2-utilising photoreactions: asymmetric photosynthesis of amino acids

Project description

Novel chemical pathways use carbon from CO2 instead of fossil fuels

Carbon is so important to so many fields that it has an entire branch of chemistry devoted to it – organic chemistry. Carbon can form covalent bonds with itself and other elements to create a virtually limitless number of other compounds and molecules. It is also the 'backbone' of living organisms and so, not surprisingly, fossil fuels formed in the geological past from once-living organisms are the most common feedstock for many chemical reactions. The EU-funded PHOTOCARBOX project is developing novel methods to expand the reactions available using carbon dioxide as a carbon source. Success will enable the chemical industry to produce bulk and fine chemicals of high value while reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide, establishing the EU as a global leader in sustainable green chemical synthesis.


Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate due to the burning of fossil fuels. At the same time, the production of bulk and fine chemistry mostly relies on the same crude oil as a carbon source. This situation is unsustainable and therefore calls for the recycling of CO2 as a carbon source. State-of-the-art methods are not sufficient to balance the carbon cycle and therefore it is important to increase the scope of available reactions using CO2. In this proposal, we aim to develop a new methodology using CO2 as a C1-synthon to open up new synthetic pathways. We will bind CO2 to a metal centre and use a radical-coupling pathway to form C-C bonds through an atom-efficient transformation. In this way, we aim to synthesise both natural and unnatural chiral amino acids from amines using visible light and combined photoredox- and CO2-catalysis. The project will contribute to uphold Europe as a world-leader in sustainability by developing novel green methodologies, as well as maintain it as a respected destination for outstanding research by dissemination of the results to both experts and a broader audience. Furthermore, the highly interdisciplinary project and extensive training will prepare the researcher to pursue a successful career in sustainable chemistry.


Net EU contribution
€ 160 932,48
43007 Tarragona

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Este Cataluña Tarragona
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 160 932,48