The US Department of Energy recently awarded $12.8 million over three years to 13 research projects investigating the direct conversion of sunlight to chemical fuels. The awards were part of a larger $22.7 set of awards for basic solar energy research.
The projects in this award focus on two major areas: detailed studies of the machinery of natural photosynthetic systems aimed at biomimetic approaches to solar water splitting and photocatalytic schemes for the direct conversion of sunlight into hydrogen or hydrocarbon fuels.
Converting sunlight into chemical fuels overcomes the problem of the day/night variation of the solar resource and provides solar-derived energy in forms useful for transportation, residential and industrial applications, according to the DOE.
Projects in the Solar Energy to Fuels program are:
|Solar Energy to Fuels|
|Brookhaven National Laboratory||Solar Fuel Production Catalyzed by transition-Metal Complexes|
|University of Chicago||New transition Metal Building Blocks and Assemblies for Photocatalytic Fuel Production|
|Emory University||Solar Energy-Driven Robust Multi-Electron-transfer Catalysts for Water Oxidation|
|University of Illinois||Self Assembly & Self-Repair of Novel Photosynthetic Reaction Center/Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Complexes for Solar Energy Conversion-Synthetic Analogs to Natural Processes|
|Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory||Nanomaterials and Bio-inspired Approaches to Solar Derived Fuels|
|University of Michigan||Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectroscopy of Light-Harvesting Complexes|
|Montana State University||Protein Architectures for Photo-Catalytic Hydrogen Production|
|North Carolina State University||Molecular-Level Organization of Heterometallic Oxides/Organics for Photocatalysis|
|University of Pennsylvania||Semiconductor Ferroelectrics and Surface Nanomaterials for Highly Efficient Solar Hydrogen Production|
|Pennsylvania State University||Nanostructured Photocatalytic Water Splitting Systems|
|Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Elucidating the Principles that Control Proton-Coupled Electron transfer Reactions in the Photosynthetic Protein, Photosystem II. A Model for Design of Bio-inspired Photocatalytic Water Splitting|
|Washington University||Mechanism of Solar Energy Storage by Chlorosome Antennas of Green Photosynthetic Bacteria|
|Yale University||Oxomanganese Catalysts for Solar Fuel Production|