Solar to Fuel Conversion
The world’s increasing need for energy, along with the alarming global warming consequences of burning fossil fuels, make the search for alternative energy sources indispensable for the future of the planet. Hydrogen is a clean fuel that does not emit green-house gasses when it is burned. It is also vital for the production of the fertilizer ammonia, and various other industries. However, currently hydrogen is generated from natural gas and fossil fuels with production process that involves substantial carbon emissions.
Solar-driven photocatalysis is a potential source of clean and renewable fuel as it promotes direct conversion of sunlight into the production of hydrogen from water. However, systems that are sufficiently stable and efficient for practical use have not been realized. Our group develops sophisticated hybrid nanostructures that combine various materials (semiconductors, metals and metal oxides) in a well-controlled manner. We advance fundamental understanding of the underlying mechanism, with focus on the influence of the system’s design on its functionality. Recently, we successfully provided the world’s first demonstration of efficient and stable full-cycle redox transformations, synthesizing hydrogen and solar chemicals. Our artificial photosynthetic system set world record in photocatalytic energy conversion efficiency, and this success manifested into a startup company (QD-SOL) working on green hydrogen production.
Several projects in the lab are currently open for students.
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