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Solar-driven reforming of waste into hydrogen

Objective

Waste disposal leads to environmental pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and a loss of chemical and energy-rich resources. Photoreforming is a sunlight-driven technology that recaptures the value in waste while simultaneously contributing to renewable energy production by transforming biomass, food and plastic waste into hydrogen. However, our current photoreforming process relies on corrosive acids or bases in order to solubilise waste and enhance hydrogen generation, which raises sustainability and economic concerns. In the proposed SolReGen project, we will couple our patented photoreforming process with a benign enzymatic waste pre-treatment in order to enhance its commercialisation potential. This will be achieved through four key objectives: (i) optimisation of an enzyme immobilisation strategy for facile recycling and low-cost deployment, (ii) integration of enzymatic pre-treatment with photoreforming, (iii) scaling of the overall system to one square meter under rooftop sunlight, and (iv) development of a sustainable business model for commercialisation. By achieving these innovations and patenting where necessary, photoreforming will become a hybrid technology for waste management and renewable energy production that is faster, less expensive, more environmentally-friendly, and increasingly desirable to commercial partners.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/waste management
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/renewable energy
  • /social sciences/economics and business/economics/sustainable economy

Call for proposal

ERC-2020-PoC
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-POC-LS - ERC Proof of Concept Lump Sum Pilot

Host institution

THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Address
Trinity Lane The Old Schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 150 000

Beneficiaries (1)

THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 150 000
Address
Trinity Lane The Old Schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments