HySolChem: Hybrid Reactor for Solar CO2 and N2 Conversion Coupled to WasteWater Treatment

HySolChem is developing an innovative, low-cost reactor for capturing greenhouse gases and producing high value fuels and chemicals (CH4, C2H4, C3H6 and NH3), while contextually removing harmful pollutants from wastewater. Reactor technology is based on artificial photosynthesis. Through this ambitious objective, HySolChem deals with CO2 valorisation strategies, artificial photosynthesis, Nfixation and removal of micro-plastics.

To build this innovative photoreactor prototype, multiple challenges need to be tackled such as:

  1. Design and synthesis of highly efficient and stable photocathodes for CO2 and N2 reduction;
  2. Development of low-cost and long-duration anodes for the electro-oxidation of microplastics and other organic pollutants in wastewater;
  3. Design and fabrication of cost-effective, selective and photo-stable ion-exchange membranes;
  4. Advanced characterisation of materials at different levels with state-of-the-art spectroscopic techniques;
  5. Integration of developed CO2/N2 reduction photocathodes, waste/microplastic oxidation anodes and ion-exchange membranes in a solar-powered flow reactor for simultaneous water detoxification and CO2/N2 valorisation;
  6. Validation of the prototype in a wastewater treatment plant;
  7. Study of the developed materials and devices from an environmental, economic and social point of view.

The prototype developed in HySolChem project will be designed keeping in mind portable applications and scaling up, in order to make it fit for a wide range of intensive industries or energy producers.

HySolChem is a high risk/high gain project, which will include design, development, testing and industrial validation of a prototype photo-reactor, which will ultimately be a powerful technology for the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions.

The HySolChem consortium, coordinated by IMDEA Energy, consists of academic and research organizations and three SMEs entities (Diamond Light Source LTD, APRIA Systems SL and Amer-Sil SA), specialized in catalysis, materials science, batteries, water treatment, social and environmental impact, and intellectual property. It represents partners from Spain, Italy, Luxembourg and United Kingdom.

Partners: Fundación IMDEA Energía (Coordinator), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, INNOVA Srl, Amer-Sil SA, Diamond Light Source LTD, APRIA Systems SL.
Funding Institution/Program: The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101017928.
Call: H2020-FETPROACT-2020 – FET Proactive: Boosting emerging technologies (Topic: FETPROACT-EIC-07-2020)
Type of action: Research and Innovation Action (RIA)
Period: January 2021 – December 2023
Principal researcher: Dr. Víctor Antonio de la Peña O’Shea