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Fully artificial photo-electrochemical device for low temperature hydrogen production

Objective

Leaves can split water into O2 and H2 at ambient conditions exploiting sun light. James Barber, one of the key players of ArtipHyction, elucidated 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.
Building on the pioneering work performed in a FET project based on natural enzymes (www.solhydromics.org) and the convergence of the work of the physics, materials scientists, chemical engineers and chemists involved in the project, an artificial device will be developed to convert sun energy into H2 with close to 10% efficiency by water splitting at ambient temperature, including:
-) an electrode exposed to sunlight carrying a PSII-like chemical mimic deposited upon a suitable transparent electron-conductive porous electrode material (e.g. ITO, FTO)
-) a membrane enabling transport of protons via a pulsated thin water gap
-) an external wire for electron conduction between electrodes
-) a cathode carrying an hydrogenase-enzyme mimic over a porous electron-conducting support in order to recombine protons and electrons into pure molecular hydrogen at the opposite side of the membrane.
A tandem system of sensitizers will be developed at opposite sides of the membrane in order to capture light at different wavelengths so as to boost the electrons potential at the anode for water splitting purposes and to inject electrons at a sufficiently high potential for effective H2 evolution at the cathode. Along with this, the achievement of the highest transparence level of the membrane and the electrodes will be a clear focus of the R&D work.
A proof of concept prototype of about 100 W (3 g/h H2 equivalent) will be assembled and tested by the end of the project for a projected lifetime of >10,000 h.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/organic chemistry
  • /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

FCH-JU-2011-1
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

JTI-CP-FCH - Joint Technology Initiatives - Collaborative Project (FCH)

Coordinator

POLITECNICO DI TORINO
Address
Corso Duca Degli Abruzzi 24
10129 Torino
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 551 071,20
Administrative Contact
Guido Saracco (Prof.)

Participants (7)

HYSYTECH SRL
Italy
EU contribution
€ 337 140
Address
Strada Del Drosso 33 18
10135 Torino
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Massimiliano Antonini (Dr.)
COMMISSARIAT A L ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES
France
EU contribution
€ 315 680
Address
Rue Leblanc 25
75015 Paris 15
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Haiyet Chebli (Ms.)
ETHNIKO KENTRO EREVNAS KAI TECHNOLOGIKIS ANAPTYXIS
Greece
EU contribution
€ 177 949,60
Address
Charilaou Thermi Road 6 Km
57001 Thermi Thessaloniki
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Athanasios Konstandopoulos (Dr.)
SOLARONIX SA
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 295 784
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.)
L'UREDERRA, FUNDACION PARA EL DESARROLLO TECNOLOGICO Y SOCIAL
Spain
EU contribution
€ 190 600
Address
Área Industrial Perguita C/a N°1
31210 Los Arcos
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Claudio Fernandez (Mr.)
TECNOLOGIA NAVARRA DE NANOPRODUCTOS SL
Spain
EU contribution
€ 92 551,80
Address
Area Industrial Perguita C/a 1
31210 Los Arcos
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Ana Esparza (Mrs.)
PYROGENESIS SA
Greece
EU contribution
€ 226 263,20
Address
Athens-lavrion Ave, Technological Park 1
19500 Lavrion
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Michalis Vardavoulias (Dr.)