ICIQ and ICFO collaborate in a new technology to mimic photosynthesis

By April 23, 2020January 4th, 2021BIST, ICFO, ICIQ

• Professor Antoni Llobet, Group Leader at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), a BIST centre, will coordinate the LICROX project, which aims to lay the foundation for a new scalable renewable energy technology.

• Professor Jordi Martorell, Group Leader at The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), another BIST centre, will collaborate in the project through pushing the technology towards commercialization.

• LICROX recently received a 3 M€ grant from the European Commission, funded within the “Boosting emerging technologies” FET Proactive Horizon 2020 programme.

Achieving artificial photosynthesis would be one of the most efficient paths towards fighting climate change. Photoelectrochemical cells (PECs) have the potential for becoming efficient and cost-effective technologies, able to directly convert sunlight into chemical energy. The LICROX project will implement a new type of PEC that mimics photosynthesis. By incorporating three complementary light absorbing elements, the LICROX devices will be able to drive both water oxidation and CO2 reduction reactions to convert sunlight to stored chemical energy. To achieve an effective large-scale replacement of fossil fuels, the PECs fabricated within the LICROX project will use an innovative combination of light absorbing materials and powerful molecular transition metal complexes as catalysts for both the oxidation and the reduction reactions. The final PECs will consist of low-cost materials and device architectures that will avoid large accumulations of hazardous or toxic products.

LICROX brings together an interdisciplinary team of scientists from academia and industry with comprehensive expertise in molecular catalysts and electrocatalysts, materials chemistry, semiconductor physics, electrochemistry, and photonics. The project is led by ICIQ, a BIST centre, and also includes the collaboration of six European partners: ICFO, a BIST centre (Spain), Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, EPFL (Switzerland), Technische Universitaet Muenchen, TMU (Germany), Avantama AG (Switzerland), Onden Teknologiradet (Denmark), and Hysytech SRL (Italy).

LICROX will lay out the path for a new scalable renewable energy technology that will be pushed towards an industrial implementation and commercialization by Avantama AG, Hysytech SRL and a newly developed spin-off from ICFO.

More information can be found on the ICIQ website.