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Synthetic and Spectroscopic Studies for an Improved Photocatalytic System for H2 Generation

English title Synthetic and Spectroscopic Studies for an Improved Photocatalytic System for H2 Generation
Applicant Hamm Peter
Number 119798
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Chemie Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Physical Chemistry
Start/End 01.04.2008 - 31.03.2010
Approved amount 193'975.00
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Keywords (6)

Photocatalysis; artificial photosynthesis; time resolved vibrational spectroscopy; Artificial homogeneous photosynthesis; photocatalytic H2 generation; time-resolved vibrational spectroscopy

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The search for renewable, sustainable energy resources as well as the chemical storage of energy coming from sunlight, are most challenging research topics from a scientific point of view and relevant for societal development in the near future. Sun light is the only source of energy the world has that will last for essentially infinite time (on human standards). The amount of sunlight on even a tiny fraction of the planet's surface, if we manage to harvest and store it, is sufficient to satisfy the world's thirst for energy even in the foreseeable future. Silicon based solar cell technology has probably advanced to a stage that, in principle, one could install really large-scale solar cell farms that provide electricity in an amount that is comparable with any other energy source. The only reason why this currently is not happening is because the prize of such a solar cell farm would still be way too high to compete with conventional energy sources (oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy). A significant drop in the prize for silicon solar cells, as it has been prognosticated for more than 20 year now, did not really happen. However, this is irrelevant since sooner or later the prize of fossil fuels will for sure exceed that of solar energy, so the latter will become profitable, albeit at a much higher prize of electricity as we have now.
Nevertheless, only a relatively small fraction of total energy consumption is needed in the form of electricity. Electricity is difficult to store in sufficient amounts. The only other storage appear to be chemical fuels with energy-rich chemical bonds, just like fossil fuels had accumulated solar energy over billions of years (with extremely poor overall efficiency). Following the example of natural photosynthesis, it seems desirable to generate chemical fuels directly from sunlight without taking the detour to first generate electricity. In the current research project we work exactly in this direction. We will develop and new molecular systems that copy concept of natural photosynthesis and generate molecular hydrogen directly from light, and investigate them to understand the underlying mechanisms.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
129675 Synthetic and Spectroscopic Studies for an Improved Photocatalytic System for H2 Generation 01.04.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
129675 Synthetic and Spectroscopic Studies for an Improved Photocatalytic System for H2 Generation 01.04.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
136205 Homogeneous photocatalytic water splitting 01.10.2011 Sinergia

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