SUnlight-driven Next Generation Artificial photosynthesis bio-hybrid TEchnology platform for highly efficient carbon neutral production of solar fuels

01 October 2023 → 30 September 2027
European funding: framework programme
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Flow chemistry
    • Photochemistry
  • Engineering and technology
    • Carbon capture engineering
artificial photosynthesis microreactor
Other information
Project description

Artificial photosynthesis (AP) is a promising approach for solar fuel production, but current systems are inefficient, expensive and
unsuitable for industrial deployment. The interdisciplinary SUNGATE consortium of 12 partners from six EU countries and Turkey will
overcome these limitations by combining the principles of AP with photoelectrocatalysis and flow microreactor technology, leading
to the first modular full-cell continuous flow microreactor technology that requires only sunlight (as an energy source) plus water and
CO2 (as simple, abundant feedstocks) for conversion into solar fuels such as methanol and formate. The technology will operate at
room temperature and neutral pH using aqueous solutions. In contrast to state-of-the-art photoelectrochemical (PEC) technologies,
SUNGATE will not use toxic or critical raw materials, and will combine efficient water oxidation catalysts, with biological components
such as photosystem I and enzymes, novel CO2 reducing catalysts and nanostructured diamond-based cathodes to radically improve
the efficiency of conversion. The unique modular and scalable design of SUNGATE technology will allow the decarbonised production
of solar fuels by increasing the size of the microfluidic PEC device or by numbering up the PEC modules, thus providing the flexibility
for diverse applications ranging from decentralised energy infrastructure to closed carbon cycles for industries that emit large
amounts of CO2. SUNGATE aims to achieve proof of concept at TRL5, heralding a technology breakthrough that has the potential to
secure the future global energy supply at an affordable cost. This meets the central goal of the European Green Deal and the
European Climate Law to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. SUNGATE’s diverse mix of academic, RTOs and industry partners will
allow the full validation of the technology, including life cycle assessment, as well as effective dissemination and knowledge transfer
to accelerate industrial take up.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). Neither the European Union nor the authority can be held responsible for them.