COmbined suN-Driven Oxidation and CO2 Reduction for renewable energy storage


Conversion of sunlight into fuels and mitigation of anthropogenic climate change are big scientific challenges. CONDOR addresses both of them by developing highly efficient solar-driven conversion of CO2 into fuels and added-value chemicals. We propose a photosynthetic device made of two compartments (a) a photoelectrochemical cell that splits water and CO2 and generates oxygen and syngas, a mixture of H2 and CO; (b) a (photo)reactor that converts syngas into methanol and dimethylether (DME), via bi-functional heterogeneous catalysts. The proposed modular approach enables different configurations depending on the target product. The oxidation process is not limited to O2 production, but entails chlorine and small organic molecules, such as 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, derived from the oxidation of low-cost and easily available precursors like salt water or alcohol derived biomass, respectively. Employed materials will be obtained through low energy/low temperature routes, mainly based on wet chemical procedures, such as sol-gel chemistry, mild hydrothermal processes, electrochemical processes at ambient temperature. Raw materials/precursors will not be limited by availability on a global scale, making use of organic species, silicon, earth abundant metal oxides, first row transition metals. The final target is a full photosynthetic device with 8% solar-to-syngas and 6% solar-to-DME efficiencies with three-months continuous outdoor operation. This represents a large progress with respect to the state of the art and requires an international collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach, which integrates expertise in nanomaterials preparation and characterisation by operando microscopy and spectroscopy, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, photochemistry/photoelectrochemistry, PEC engineering and assessment of the environmental and socio-economic impact of the proposed technology, including life cycle assessment.

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Paola Ceroni

Unibo involved Department/s:
Dipartimento di Chimica "Giacomo Ciamician"
Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia "Augusto Righi"

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna(Italy)

Other Participants:
AMIRES s.r.o (Czech Republic)
Engie (France)
Fundacio Privada Institut Catala D'Investigacio Quimica (Iciq) (Spain)
Hygear Technology And Services Bv (Netherlands)
Laborelec Cvba Belgisch Laboratorium Van De Elektriciteitsindustrie (Belgium)
Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (Italy)
Università  degli Studi di Ferrara - Amministrazione Centrale (Italy)
Universiteit Utrecht (Netherlands)

Total Eu Contribution: Euro (EUR) 3.989.116,25
Project Duration in months: 48
Start Date: 01/11/2020
End Date: 31/10/2024

Cordis webpage

Affordable and clean energy This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101006839 This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101006839