Researchers at KAUST have discovered that a form of iron oxide—Fe2O3—makes an excellent co-catalyst for a promising photocatalytic material called gallium nitride for the production f hydrogen. An open-access paper on their work appears in Scientific Reports. Finding photocatalysts that can efficiently use sunlight to produce clean hydrogen fuel from... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Cambridge, with colleagues at the University of Tokyo, have developed a standalone device that converts sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into formic acid, a carbon-neutral fuel, without requiring any additional components or electricity. The device is a significant step toward achieving artificial photosynthesis—a process mimicking... Read more →


Photoelectrical chemical cells (PECs) have the potential to produce hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis, an emerging renewable energy technology that uses energy from sunlight to drive chemical reactions such as splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. The key to a PEC’s success lies not only in how well its photoelectrode... Read more →


DOE announces $100M for artificial photosynthesis research to two major partnerships

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $100 million in funding over five years for two new awards focused on advancing artificial photosynthesis for the production of fuels from sunlight. The Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA), led by the California Institute of Technology in close partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,... Read more →


Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Caltech have found that copper that was once bound with oxygen is better at converting carbon dioxide into renewable fuels than copper that was never bound to oxygen. For their study, published in the journal ACS Catalysis, the scientists performed X-ray... Read more →


SunHydrogen, the developer of a technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water, has extended its sponsored research agreement with the University of Iowa through 31 August 2020. The current extension will allow the company to increase focus on its more efficient GEN 2 hydrogen production technology which is... Read more →


Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, are attempting to convert carbon dioxide to fuel using energy from sunlight. Recent results have shown that it is possible to use their technique selectively to produce methane, carbon monoxide or formic acid from carbon dioxide and water. An open-access paper on the work appears... Read more →


Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have developed a hybrid material constructed from a metal oxide nanosheet and a light-absorbing molecule for splitting water molecules (H2O) to obtain hydrogen (H2) under sunlight. The research team led by Kazuhiko Maeda at Tokyo Tech developed a new photocatalyst consisting of... Read more →


Representatives of the Lufthansa Group and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zürich), with ETH spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion, have signed a joint Letter of Intent for a possible cooperation to accelerate the market launch of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). The researchers and engineers at ETH Zurich have developed... Read more →


A research group led by Associate Professor Takashi Tachikawa of Kobe University’s Molecular Photoscience Research Center has developed a strategy that greatly increases the amount of hydrogen produced from sunlight and water using hematite (α‐Fe2O3) photocatalysts. They were able to raise the conversion rate up to 42% of its theoretical... Read more →


Rice University researchers have created an efficient, low-cost device that splits water to produce hydrogen fuel. The platform developed by the Brown School of Engineering lab of Rice materials scientist Jun Lou integrates catalytic electrodes and perovskite solar cells that, when triggered by sunlight, produce electricity. The current flows to... Read more →


HyperSolar, Inc., the developer of a technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water (earlier post), is working with Suzhou GH New Energy Co. Ltd., a division of GCL Poly, in China to make the final modifications to the solar cells required to manufacture the Gen 1 hydrogen production... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Southampton have transformed optical fibers into photocatalytic microreactors that convert water into hydrogen fuel using solar energy. The technology combines, for the first time, microstructured optical fiber technology with photocatalysis, creating a photocatalytic microreactor coated with TiO2, decorated with palladium nanoparticles. The microstructured optical fiber... Read more →


Researchers from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a photocatalyst for the selective decarboxylation of fatty acids to produce diesel- and jet-range molecules under mild conditions (30 °C, H2 pressure ≤0.2 MPa). A photocatalytic decarboxylation strategy for the production of alkanes from... Read more →


Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS), Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., and Iwatani Corporation announced that Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R), which had been under construction in Namie town, Fukushima Prefecture since 2018, has been constructed with a... Read more →


Researchers led by Prof. WANG Feng at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have reported that photocatalytic decarboxylation is an efficient alternate pathway for converting biomass-derived fatty acids into alkanes under mild conditions of ambient temperature and pressure. This finding was published in... Read more →


Researchers develop organic semiconductor photocatalyst with enhanced hydrogen evolution

Currently, most hydrogen evolution photocatalysts (HEPs) are made from single-component inorganic semiconductors. These can only absorb light at ultraviolet wavelengths—constituting less than 5% of the solar spectrum—which limits their efficiency. However, photocatalysts formed from a single organic semiconductor typically suffer from inefficient intrinsic charge generation, which leads to low photocatalytic... Read more →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) plans to provide up to $100 million over five years for research on artificial photosynthesis for the production of fuels from sunlight. (DE-FOA-0002254) The funding will support the establishment of one large or possibly two smaller DOE Energy Innovation Hubs: integrated multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research... Read more →


Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have demonstrated the first visible-light photoelectrochemical system for water splitting using TiO2 enhanced with cobalt. The proposed approach is simple and represents a stepping stone in the quest to achieve affordable water splitting to produce hydrogen. A study on their work is... Read more →


Prometheus CEO outlines tech advances that could make CO2-to-fuels renewable gasoline and jet price-competitive with fossil fuels

In a commentary in the journal Joule, Rob McGinnis, founder and and CEO of Prometheus, a company that is developing technology to remove carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into fuels, discusses the technology advances that could lead to the potential price-competitiveness of renewable gasoline and jet with... Read more →


Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), with colleagues at Yale University, have developed a photochemical process to convert acetone derived from plants (bio-acetone) into a mixture of polycyclic alkanes, the high energy density of which is appropriate for high-perfomance aviation applications. A paper on the work appears in the... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Michigan, McGill University and McMaster University have developed a binary copper−iron catalyst for photoelectrochemical CO2 reduction toward methane. The work, presented in a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), offers a unique, highly efficient, and inexpensive route for solar fuels synthesis.... Read more →


Researchers in Israel have designed a separate-cell photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting system with decoupled hydrogen and oxygen cells for centralized hydrogen production. A paper describing their system is publishedin the journal Joule. Photovoltaic-powered water splitting (PV-electrolysis) systems that couple commercially-available photovoltaic and water electrolysis technologies have already been demonstrated in several... Read more →


Heliogen, a company that is transforming sunlight to create and replace fuels, recently announced its launch and also said that it has—for the first time commercially—concentrated solar energy to exceed temperatures greater than 1,000 degrees Celsius. At that temperature, Heliogen can replace the use of fossil fuels in critical industrial... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Cambridge have demonstrated an “artificial leaf” that uses only sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to produce syngas. As a a result, unlike the current industrial processes for producing syngas, the leaf does not release any additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The results are reported... Read more →


The Paris Agreement calls for global warming to be limited to 2 ˚C above pre-industrial levels, and preferably 1.5 °C. The fossil CO₂ emitted by road vehicles will have to be reduced to nearly zero over the next three decades for that to happen—a daunting and complex challenge. Electromobility is... Read more →


Engineers at Lehigh University are the first to utilize a single enzyme biomineralization process to create a quantum confined CdS/reduced graphene oxide (CdS/rGO) catalyst that uses the energy of captured sunlight to split water molecules to produce hydrogen. The synthesis process—catalyzed by the single enzyme cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE)—is performed at... Read more →


ETH Zurich: carbon-neutral fuel made from sunlight and air

Researchers from ETH Zurich have developed a novel technology that produces liquid hydrocarbon fuels exclusively from sunlight and air and have demonstrated the entire thermochemical process chain under real field conditions. Their new solar mini-refinery is located on the roof of ETH’s Machine Laboratory building in Zurich. CO2 and water... Read more →


University of Colorado Boulder researchers have developed nanobio-hybrid organisms capable of using airborne carbon dioxide and nitrogen to produce a variety of plastics and fuels, a promising first step toward low-cost carbon sequestration and eco-friendly manufacturing for chemicals. A paper on their work appears in the Journal of the American... Read more →


Researchers at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), with colleagues in Korea, Japan, and the US, have added copper and platinum nanoparticles to the surface of a blue titania photocatalyst, thereby significantly improving its ability to recycle atmospheric carbon dioxide into hydrocarbon fuels (methane and ethane). The... Read more →


UK researchers use graphite to waterproof perovskite solar cells

A cheaper, cleaner and more sustainable way of making hydrogen fuel from water using sunlight is closer with new research from the University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies. The team used a commercial thermal graphite sheet and a mesoporous carbon scaffold to encapsulate metal-halide perovskites (CsPbBr3) as an... Read more →


Bioscience engineers at KU Leuven have created a solar panel that produces hydrogen gas from moisture in the air. After ten years of development, the panel can now produce 250 liters per day—a world record, according to the researchers. Twenty of these solar panels could provide electricity and heat for... Read more →


Toyota and DIFFER partner on direct solar production of hydrogen from humid air, rather than water

The Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) is partnering with Toyota Motor Europe (TME) to develop a device that absorbs water vapor, and splits it into hydrogen and oxygen directly using solar energy. The LIFT (Launchpad for Innovative Future Technology) research proposal has now been rewarded a grant from... Read more →


A team at Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) has successfully integrated solar heat into a solid oxide electrolyzer. The experimental setup of the prototype system consisted of a solar simulator, a solar steam generator, a steam accumulator and a solid oxide electrolyzer. Experimental setup of the solar heated... Read more →


Power-To-X: Sunfire reports successful test run of co-electrolysis system of >500 hours; e-Crude demo targeted

Sunfire GmbH reports the successful start-up and test run (> 500 hours) of a high-temperature co-electrolysis system at its Dresden site, beginning in November 2018. SUNFIRE-SYNLINK—a co-electrolyzer based on solid oxide cell (SOC) technology—enables the highly efficient production (a projected ~80% efficiency on an industrial scale) of synthesis gas in... Read more →


Argonne team combines two protein complexes to make hydrogen fuel from water

Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have combined two membrane-bound protein complexes to perform a complete conversion of water molecules to hydrogen and oxygen. An open-access paper describing their work is published in the journal Chemical Science. Sunlight-driven production of hydrogen from water provides a... Read more →


A research team led by Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute Of Science And Technology (DGIST) Professor Jong-Sung Yu in Korea, with colleagues at UC Berkeley and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, has successfully developed a new catalyst synthesis method that can efficiently decompose water into oxygen and hydrogen using solar light. A... Read more →


Columbia University engineers make breakthrough in understanding electroreduction of CO2 for conversion to electrofuels

Electrocatalysis and photocatalysis (artificial photosynthesis) are among the most promising ways to achieve effective storage for renewable energy. CO2 electroreduction has been capturing the imagination of researchers for more than 150 years because of its similarity to photosynthesis. Recent research in electrocatalytic CO2 conversion points the way to using CO2... Read more →


Researchers split water by altering photosynthetic machinery in plants; semi-artificial photosynthesis

A new study, led by academics at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, has used semi-artificial photosynthesis to explore new ways to produce and store solar energy. They used natural sunlight to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using a mixture of biological components and manmade technologies. Their method also... Read more →


In the quest to realize artificial photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into fuel—just as plants do—researchers need to not only identify materials to efficiently perform photoelectrochemical water splitting, but also to understand why a certain material may or may not work. Now scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National... Read more →


Scientists in Japan have shown that an oxyfluoride is capable of visible light-driven photocatalysis—i.e., converting solar energy to fuel energy using visible-light-absorbing semiconductor materials. The finding opens new doors for designing materials for artificial photosynthesis and solar energy research. Pb2Ti2O5.4F1.2. The inset (on the right) shows a photograph of Pb2Ti2O5.4F1.2,... Read more →


SoCalGas introduces STARS solar hydrogen generation system at California Air Resources Board Symposium

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) introduced an innovative new solar-powered hydrogen generation system during the California Air Resources Board Technology Expo and Symposium at the University of California, Riverside. The project is a partnership between SoCalGas, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the STARS Corporation. The generation system uses sunlight... Read more →


Exeter team develops low-cost photoelectrode for spontaneous water-splitting using sunlight

Researchers at the University of Exeter (UK) have developed a novel p-type LaFeO3 photoelectrode using an inexpensive and scalable spray pyrolysis method. The nanostructured photoelectrode results in spontaneous hydrogen evolution from water without any external bias applied with a faradaic efficiency of 30% and excellent stability. The researchers believe this... Read more →


Researchers in Canada have demonstrated a new photochemical diode artificial photosynthesis system that can enable efficient, unassisted overall pure water splitting without using any sacrificial reagent. As reported in an open-access paper in Nature Communications, the wafer-level photochemical diode arrays exhibited solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of ~3.3% in neutral (pH ~ 7.0) overall water... Read more →


New photocatalyst for the hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol with high selectivity at atmospheric pressure

Researchers from Soochow University in China and the University of Toronto have developed a new photocatalyst for the hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol with 50% selectivity under simulated solar irradiation. A paper on their work appears in the journal Joule. The solar methanol production of the defect-laden indium oxide, In2O3-x(OH)y,... Read more →


Startup Mattershift says it has achieved a breakthrough in making carbon nanotube (CNT) membranes at large scale. The startup is developing the technology’s ability to combine and separate individual molecules to make gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel using CO2 removed from the air. In an open-access paper in Science Advances,... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Twente’s MESA+ research institute have made significant efficiency improvements to the technology used to generate solar fuels. They fabricated a highly efficient photocathode by spatially and functionally decoupling light absorption and catalytic activity. As reported in a paper in the journal Nature Energy, their silicon... Read more →


The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), together with international project partners, has inaugurated the largest solar-chemical installation yet for the production of hydrogen. For the HYDROSOL-Plant (thermochemical HYDROgen product in a SOLar monolithic reactor) project, scientists and companies further developed the process of direct hydrogen... Read more →


Integrated solar-driven system for electrochemical energy storage and water electrolysis for H2 production

A team from UCLA and colleagues from Tarbiat Modares University and Shahed University in Iran have devised an integrated solar-powered system for both electrochemical energy storage and water electrolysis. They synthesized a nickel-cobalt-iron layered double hydroxide (Ni-Co-Fe LDH) on a nickel foam substrate using a fast, one-step electrodeposition approach. The... Read more →


A team led by researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has developed a new way to produce solar fuels by using completely synthetic bionano machinery to harvest light without the need for a living cell. The researchers’ device, reported in the journal ACS Nano as a... Read more →