Solar powered electrochemical device for the reduction of carbon dioxide

Academic Lead – Stephanie Haywood (Hull)

Note: This is a four-University Network including Hull.

Complementarity of the collaborators and added value: The network is unique in the UK and has critical mass of expertise cross-cutting engineering, chemistry, physics and materials science. Four complimentary projects are excellently placed to develop the key technology for a solar electrochemical device (see scientific case below). The Network provides the basis for scientific development, future collaboration and access to funding opportunities that will not be possible with a less comprehensive grouping.

Investigator profiles:

Haywood is Professor of Optoelectronics in the Department of Engineering at Hull. Her work has centred on nanostructured devices. Recent relevant work on modelling of quantum dot band structure was funded by an EU Framework 6 project (DOMINO). Haywood has been a member of the UK photovoltaic network for many years as well as EU-PVNET. She co-authored a roadmap for PV in Europe in 2004 and co-chaired EU workshops on this topic.

Ewan is Senior Lecturer in Chemical & Process Engineering at Sheffield University. Recent work has focused on sustainability issues, with both EPSRC and EU supported work. He was a member of the European project team for hydrogen production (EU-Hythec) and has led the Sheffield contribution to the development of a hydrogen roadmap for Europe (EU-Innohyp). Recent industry collaborations include studies on nuclear options for hydrogen production, carbon capture and storage and dioxin reduction.

Douthwaite is Senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at York. He has developed a microwave-induced plasma method for the synthesis of novel materials and templating methods for the synthesis of macroporous solids. Recent relevant work on photocatalysis was funded by EPSRC (in collaboration with Brydson) and he is a member of the UK photocatalysis network.

Brydson is Professor of Nanomaterials Characterisation in the Institute for Materials Research at Leeds. He has a long standing interest imaging and analysis of Nano- and Mesostructured Materials by Electron Microscopy and has gained grant income from EPSRC, NERC, BBSRC, Royal Society and the EU.

Weinstein is a lecturer in Chemistry in Sheffield and holds an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship “Light-switchable molecular devices” awarded for the development of a novel approach to Solar Energy conversion. Primary expertise is in photochemistry, coordination chemistry, and electrochemistry. Work has been funded by EPSRC, BBSRC, Royal Society and EU.

Perutz is Professor of Chemistry in York. He has made substantial contributions to organometallic photochemistry and inorganic reaction mechanisms. He is a member of an EPSRC consortium on solar energy conversion. He was a medallist of the Italian Chemical Society in 2008 and the French Chemical Society in 2009.

Crook is a RCUK Academic Fellow in the Energy and Resources Research Institute in the School of Process, Environment, and Materials Engineering at Leeds. He has developed a novel ultra-sensitive scanning probe technique, which is now being implemented to investigate optical-electrical properties of nanomaterial under funding from the Royal Society. He is a member of PVNET, and has a teaching and supervision role in the Leeds Energy DTC.

Wadhawan is lecturer in Physical Sciences at Hull. He has broad-ranging interests in electrochemical science and technology. He is Editor of Royal Society of Chemistry and Society for Chemical Industry Electrochemistry Newsletter, and is a member of the Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage division of the International Society of Electrochemistry. Recent monies from EPSRC have been awarded for the photochemical triggering of redox processes.

Strategic relevance: As stated in the remit of the CLCF, our region generates 20% of the UK’s CO2 and has rigorous policies and programmes targeting CO2 reduction whilst building economic development opportunities to enable the region’s communities and businesses to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Our project targets the reduction of CO2 directly by the development and implementation of a device capable of converting CO2 to useful products. The primary aim of the project is to convert CO2 to value added products using a simple cost effective device. If successful the technology will contribute to a reduction of CO2 emissions and use a waste product (from combustion processes) that is detrimental to the environment. Our outcomes will be a research and training environment of international quality; a device that will translate applied research for benefit of the UK economy; promote innovation in low carbon technologies; and enhance the standing of Yorkshire’s research institutions.

Design of photovoltaic components for a solar electrochemical cell for the reduction of CO2

Principal Academic – Stephanie Haywood (Hull)

Correlating electronic, electrochemical, and functional properties of highly-textured semiconductor-catalyst materials

Principal Supervisor – Rolf Crook (Leeds)

Anchored Electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction. 

Principal Supervisor – Julia A. Weinstein

New macroporous materials for photocatalytic and photonic applications

Principal Supervisor – Richard Douthwaite (York)