Hybrid molecular and semiconductor systems for solar fuel production. Fundamental science of molecular components and devices.

Time period: 2015-01-01 to 2018-12-31

Project leader: Leif Hammarström

Other personnel: Stenbjörn Styring, Licheng Sun, Sascha Ott

Funder: Swedish Research Council

Type of award: Project grant

Total fundning: 16 000 000 SEK

Direct solar energy conversion into a storable solar fuel is an attractive renewable energy concept. In Sweden this would allow storage of solar energy from summer to winter. Our scientific and technological target is a hybrid solar fuel device where we combine molecular photosensitizers and catalysts for water oxidation and fuel production with semiconductor (SC) electrodes for charge separation and transport. The catalysts are based on abundant metals (Fe, Co, Mn, Ni) or highly efficient Ru-catalysts for water oxidation. Our cross disciplinary research team strives for a very high mechanistic understanding, based on a range of advanced techniques and experimental protocols, that is crucial for the development of multi-electron and multi-proton reactions that are driven via single photon reactions. The project aims to improve design, performance and stability of catalysts for water oxidation, proton and CO2 reduction by control of 2nd coordination sphere effects in catalysts, in particular proton management, and incorporation of the catalysts in metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to improve catalyst lifetime. We will immobilize the molecular or MOF-incorporated catalysts on SC-surfaces, thereby moving from the science of components to that of complete devices. Immobilization also allows for control of the 3rd coordination sphere around the catalysts, exploitation of matrix, and control of inter-component charge transfer reactions.