FotoArt-CM: New generation of multifunctional materials for artificial photosynthesis

Program of R&D activities between research groups of “Comunidad de Madrid”, co-funded with the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund, coordinated by Dr. Víctor Manuel de la Peña O´Shea de la Fundación IMDEA Energía (Ref: S2018/NMT-4367).

One of most important and elusive challenges that Science faces today is the development of technologies capable of alleviating the effect of greenhouse gases as main actors of global warming. To face this challenge, it is vital to develop a new generation of efficient technologies and materials based on sustainable energy sources that allow not only to decrease these emissions, but also to reduce their concentration in the atmosphere by means of their valorization.

One of the most promising strategies in this respect is the socalled artificial photosynthesis, which leads to the valorization of abundant feedstocks (CO2, H2, N2 and biomass) to obtain fuels and chemicals. However, this is a complex process that involves the consecutive coupling of several optical, chargetransfer and catalytic processes, which happen at different timescales. In order for this coupling to be effective, the development of complex systems able to simultaneously and efficiently managing photons and electrons is required.

The main goal of the FotoArtCM program is to develop new generation of multifunctional materials and devices that make an efficient use of renewable energy, mainly solar, to obtain fuels and chemical through artificial photosynthesis. For that purpose, FotoArtCM proposes different strategies to alleviate the current technological limitations like availability and stability of the developed materials, the efficiency of reactor and processes and the energy return on investment (EROI), which would guarantee a technologically and economically viable scaleup.

Precisely, the activities of FotoArtCM are focused on the following partial objectives:

Design of model nanocatalysts via a unique combination of experimental and theoretical tools.
Development of multifunctional catalysts that allow to carry out efficiently and selectively the oxidationreduction reactions implied in the artificial photosynthesis processes (photoand photoelectrocatalytic).
Multifunctional nanocarbon-based fibres, where research will focus in the development of flexible photoelectrodes combining different hybrid fibres of CNT and physicochemical functionalization processes.
Study of structure-activity relationships by combining advanced theoretical and characterization tools.
Prospective techno-economical and sustainability-analysis.
Partners: Instituto IMDEA Energía (Coordinador); Instituto IMDEA Materiales, Instituto IMDEA Nanociencia; CSIC; UAM; BihurCrystal, SYNTHELIA ORGANIC, GNANOMAT, SPECS, HUNOSA, OFICEMEN, MAGES, ENAGAS, REPSOL, CEPSA, MERCEDES BENZ y Liken Carbon Hub.
Funding Institution/Program: Comunidad de Madrid/Program of R&D activities between research groups in Technology 2018.
Period: January 2019-April 2023
Principal researcher: Dr. Víctor A. de la Peña O´Shea