CONDOR - COmbined suN-Driven Oxidation and CO2 Reduction for renewable energy storage

Conversion of sunlight into fuels and mitigation of anthropogenic climate change are big scientific challenges. CONDOR addresses both of them by developing highly efficient solar-driven conversion of CO2 into fuels and added-value chemicals. 

We propose a photosynthetic device made of two compartments (a) a photoelectrochemical cell that splits water and CO2 and generates oxygen and syngas, a mixture of H2 and CO; (b) a (photo) reactor that converts syngas into methanol and dimethylether (DME), via bi-functional heterogeneous catalysts. The proposed modular approach enables different configurations depending on the target product. The oxidation process is not limited to O2 production, but entails chlorine and small organic molecules, such as 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, derived from the oxidation of low-cost and easily available precursors like salt water or alcohol derived biomass, respectively. Employed materials will be obtained through low energy/low temperature routes, mainly based on wet chemical procedures, such as sol-gel chemistry, mild hydrothermal processes, electrochemical processes at ambient temperature. Raw materials/precursors will not be limited by availability on a global scale, making use of organic species, silicon, earth abundant metal oxides, first row transition metals. The final target is a full photosynthetic device with 8% solar-to-syngas and 6% solar-to-DME efficiencies with three-months continuous outdoor operation.
This represents a large progress with respect to the state of the art and requires an international collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach, which integrates expertise in nanomaterials preparation and characterisation by operando microscopy and spectroscopy, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, photochemistry/photoelectrochemistry, PEC engineering and assessment of the environmental and socio-economic impact of the proposed technology, including life cycle assessment.

Project details

Scientific responsability: Stefano Caramori

Funding source: HORIZON 2020

Call: H2020-LC-SC3-2020-RES-RIA

Start date: 01/11/2020 - end date: 31/10/2024

EU contribution: 3.989.116,25 €

EU contribution to UniFe: 506.375,00 €

Participants

  • Alma Mater Studiorum - Universita di Bologna, Italy (Coordinator)
  • Fundacio Privada Institut Catala d'investigacio Quimica, Spain
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy
  • Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Universita degli Studi di Ferrara, Italy
  • Engie, France
  • Belgisch Laboratorium Van de Elektriciteitsindustrie Laborelec Cvba, Belgium
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  • HYGEAR BV, Netherlands
  • AMIRES SRO, Czech Republic