EventProf. Erwin Reisner

Artificial Photosynthesis: Solar-driven Synthesis of Sustainable Fuels & Chemicals

The synthesis of solar fuels and chemicals through artificial photosynthesis does not only require the coupling of solar light absorption and charge separation, but also the direct pairing with chemical redox processes. This approach is a one-step and versatile alternative to the more indirect coupling of a photovoltaic cell with electrolysis and enables potentially the synthesis of a wide range of fuels and feedstock chemicals. A common drawback in most artificial photosynthetic systems and organic photocatalysis is their reliance on expensive materials and device architectures, which challenges the development of ultimately scalable systems. Another limitation in many approaches is their inefficiency and reliance on sacrificial redox reagents, which may be system damaging and often prevent truly energy-storing chemistry to proceed. This presentation will give an overview about our recent progress in developing semiconductor hybrid materials to perform efficient full redox cycle solar fuel catalysis with inexpensive components, and our first steps in extending this approach for sustainable biomass photoreforming and chemical synthesis.

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About The Speaker

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Prof. Erwin Reisner received his education and professional training at the University of Vienna (PhD in 2005 with Prof Bernhard K. Keppler and Habilitation in 2010), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (postdoc from 2005-2007 with Prof. Stephen J. Lippard) and the University of Oxford (postdoc from 2008-2009 with Prof Fraser A. Armstrong). He started his independent career as a University Lecturer at the University of Cambridge in 2010, where he has recently been appointed as a University Professor in the Department of Chemistry. He heads the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable SynGas Chemistry and directs the UK Solar Fuels Network, which coordinates the UK’s activities in artificial photosynthesis. His laboratory explores chemical biology, synthetic chemistry, materials science, and engineering relevant to the development of solar-driven chemistry for the sustainable synthesis of fuels and chemicals.