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A collaboration between Professor Erwin Reisner’s group at the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry and Professor Sam Stranks’s group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and Department of Physics has led to a scaled-up demonstrator system, built for the final of the EU Fuel from the Sun Prize. Results of the competition were announced at the award ceremony today in Brussels, and the Cambridge team were one of only three to reach the final.

Over the past 3 years, the two groups have been combining Reisner group’s expertise on artificial leaves with a new approach to halide perovskite processing developed in the Stranks’ group. For this competition, they jointly submitted a fully functional, bench-scale prototype demonstrator that uses sunlight to turn carbon dioxide and water into a useable synthetic fuel (syngas), which showed potential for the production of syngas under real-world conditions.

The Maxwell Centre at the University of Cambridge hosted the team during the months leading up to the competition, providing access to all necessary facilities to build the scaled up system.

The team scaled up the production of halide perovskite solar cells via a process called thermal evaporation, which was done at the Henry Royce Institute Ambient Cluster Tool. The result were larger artificial leaf panels, which were then assembled in a scalable and modular system. The system assembly happened in the Maxwell’s Cambridge Zero Demonstrator Lab, and the first outdoor test runs of the panels took place on the compound rooftop at the rear of the Maxwell Centre building.

Support

Henry Royce Institute and at Cambridge the Maxwell Centre, the School of Technology, Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, and the Centre of Advanced Materials for Integrated Energy Systems (CAM-IES)

Project team members

Professor Erwin Reisner, Professor of Energy and Sustainability at the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry;

Professor Sam Stranks, Professor of Optoelectronics and Royal Society University Research Fellow at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and Department of Physics;

Dr Virgil Andrei, Research Fellow at the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry;

Dr Miguel Anaya, Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology;

Dr Motiar Rahaman, Marie Curie Fellow at the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry;

Yu-Hsien Chiang, PhD student at the Department of Physics                                                                                        ;

Dr Edoardo Ruggeri, Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.

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