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Art-LEAF: Nanostructured multifunctional membranes for solar fuels production by artificial photosynthesis

31st edition of grants postgraduate studies in Life and Matter Sciences in foreign universities and research centers fuded by Ramon Areces Foundation, led by Dr. Víctor A. de la Peña O´Shea from IMDEA Energy Foundation.

The development of novel strategies for CO2 valorisation is one of the most important challenges for the European Union due to its great implications in Scientific, environmental and socio-economic fields. However, today only less than 1% of the total CO2 anthropogenic emissions are reused. In this context, one of the most promising strategies to recycle the CO2 and to storage energy is the development of artificial photosynthesis processes where the sunlight is used as renewable energy source to produce fuels and value added products.

The main objective of Art-LEAF is the development of a photocatalytic device that allows to storage in an efficient way the solar energy through the CO2 photoreduction using water as electron donor. To achieve this ambitious objective several tasks are proposed:

1/ Synthesis of photoactive materials based on inorganic oxides and nanostrucutred organic conjugated polymers and MOFs that allow performing reduction and oxidation reactions in different active sites and without any external bias. These photoelectrodes will be assembled in a polymeric proton conduction membrane giving the device a higher flexibility, which is the vital importance in the potential process scale-up.

2/ Characterization of the structural, textural, morphological, and optoelectronic properties both of bare materials and in the overall device. Great efforts will be also devoted to the use of operando characterisation techniques combined with theoretical calculations to understand the structure-reactivity relationship.

3/ Design, construction and scale-up of a tandem cell to carry out the solar fuels production by artificial photosynthesis that allows to work both with artificial and solar light.

Partners: IMDEA Energy Institute
Funding Institution/Program: Ramon Areces Foundation/ Grants postgraduate studies in Life and Matter Sciences in foreign universities and research center 2018
Period: April 2019-April 2021
Principal researcher: Dr. Víctor A. de la Peña O´Shea