Solar fuels from sustainable feedstock using Earth-abundant catalysts

Supervisor

Prof. Julia Weinstein, Professor of Physical Chemistry

Co-supervisors

Prof. Tao Wang, Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Dr Alastair Buckley, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Dr Stephen Ebbens, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Grantham Scholar

Light-driven reactions in natural systems are responsible for the very life on earth, where photosynthetic plants and bacteria harvest sunlight to drive the conversion of carbon dioxide and water into energy-rich compounds.

Artificial photosynthesis is a fascinating field of research where “man-made” light-harvesting molecules are combined with nanostructured materials. These are then used for the reduction of carbon dioxide to ‘solar fuels’, such as carbon monoxide, methanol, and methane. These CO2 reducing systems are studied with advanced characterisation methods – such as ultrafast laser spectroscopy and electron microscopy.

The ultimate aim of the project is to prepare catalysts for artificial photosynthesis. The system will reduce CO2 to solar fuels and split water into hydrogen and oxygen using a sustainable energy source, such as sunlight.