SOLHYCAT was awarded the BIST Ignite Grant in March 2018.
One of the challenges of the 21st century is to tackle the energy availability problem due to dwindling fossil fuels. SOLHYCAT aims to find an efficient method to convert sunlight and water into hydrogen and oxygen gases (light-induced water splitting), an alternative approach that generates a carbon free and renewable fuel that could change the current energy economy. The strategy is based on using a tailor-made hybrid photocatalyst that has been designed with a bottom-up approach in order to foster the productive pathways associated with the overall catalytic process and minimize the detrimental ones. Every single component has been selected according to its specific functionality from the light absorbing nanocrystal material with suitable band edges, to the metallic catalytic center, responsible for the chemical reaction. A third and key component of the hybrid photocatalyst is the 1D or 2D carbon nanostructure such as graphene or carbon nanotubes, which is expected to work as a linker and charge transfer platform between the light absorbing unit and the catalytic centre.
Multidisciplinarity within SOLHYCAT
SOLHYCAT takes advantage of the complementary and synergistic expertise of two independent research groups. On one hand, the group at ICN2 can master the synthesis and characterization of carbon nanostructures decorated with a broad range of inorganic materials and in particular, those made of semiconductors and plasmonic nanoparticles. On the other hand, the group at ICIQ has extensive experience in the synthesis and catalytic assessment of molecular water oxidation and water reduction catalysts.