Solar Fuels – out of air, water and sunlight

The Shamrock
About this event
Simply obtaining fuels out of plain air, water and sunlight, wouldn’t that be awesome?! In fact, this is a reality in the making! As our fossil-fuel addicted lifestyle produces too much greenhouse gasses, sustainable energy sources like the sun are of particular interest. Now that electricity production through solar panels and wind turbines has seriously taken off, storage is increasingly becoming a point of focus. For easy long-term storage and transportation stable, energy-dense fuels are needed. But how to convert solar into chemical energy? To do so, scientists are looking to the photosynthesis in plants. Numerous projects are currently working on imitating and improving these green refineries for making CO2-neutral solar fuels.

On Wednesday March 29 these exciting developments will be central in the Science Café, when three of the field’s key researchers will offer us a peek into the fascinating science and discuss their different approaches to solar-to-fuel conversion. Joost Reek (UvA) and his team scrutinize the intricate photosynthesis process in order to optimize catalysis for efficient splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen. Gerard van Rooij (DIFFER, MU) takes a plasma chemical approach to dissociate CO2 into CO which then can be used for making fuels such as kerosine. Klaas Hellingwerf (UvA, Photanol) utilizes the power of photosynthetic cyanobacteria, genetically engineering their metabolism for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals. Spin-off Photanol has already a demo plant in operation in which these algae are put to work. Alongside the science, discussions and tasty drinks, this evening HarryKatur will juice some groovy tunes out of his electrically powered machines for proper conversion into (bio)chemical energy!