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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N013883/1
Title: Photonic fibre technologies for solar fuels catalysis
Principal Investigator: Sazio, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Armstrong, Dr L Raja, Professor R Mackenzie, Dr JI
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr M Petrovich
Project Partners:
Honeywell SEaB Energy Ltd
Department: Optoelectronics Research Ctr (closed)
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 February 2016 Ends: 30 June 2018 Value (£): 486,940
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Carbon Capture & Storage Catalysis & Applied Catalysis
Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Jul 2015 Adventures in Energy (Sift) Announced
02 Sep 2015 Adventures in Energy Interviews Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
With increasing concerns over current CO2 levels and their association with climate change, research needs to establish a way to prevent further CO2 from reaching the atmosphere. Power production is the highest contributor of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere following by industrial process and transportation. Therefore, establishing technologies that extract the CO2 from these emissions before it reaches the atmosphere is considered the most viable solution. Since various types of CO2 capturing technologies have been developed over the past decade or so, one might ask, why is it that we are still not seeing these technologies rolled out yet? Here are a couple of reasons:

- Expensive: There are various capture types but each of them consumed up to 40% of the power that is generated within the plant itself. This reduces the available energy for end-users, e.g., the general public, which is problematic since we are a nation that is increasingly dependent on technology. Longer power plants operation could top up energy lost to maintain increasing demands but this would increase the cost of energy to cover the additional production costs.

- Size: Different technologies have different size requirements. A number can be retrofitted to existing plants, so space needs to be available for this, and other can only be applied to large plants to takes time for development and construction and is an all-round expensive route to take.

- What about the CO2?: Capturing the CO2 is one thing but what to do with it after is another issue. Researchers continue to focus on its storage in underground depleted gas/oil reservoirs yet there are significant cost implications which occur in the run up to its storage, i.e., transport and injection, etc. Conversion of CO2 into a valuable and reusable product which subsequently closes the cycle would be the best option.

This proposal brings together leading chemists, physicists and engineers at Southampton to develop a novel state-of-the-art technology that not only converts CO2 into a synthetic fuel but does so using solar energy.

Optimised catalytic active sites incorporated into photonic fibres promote photochemical conversion of CO2 directly into synthetic fuel. Alongside this, computational models and simulations will provide physical insight to evaluate and optimise photonic-fibre catalytic converter technology for synthetic fuel generation. This will subsequently support the development of a lab-scale reactor which will demonstrate the scalability of this state-of-the-art technology.

Engagement across the academic, industrial and public sectors will promote further opportunities for expansion and encourage development of early career researchers involved with the programme. The outcomes of the programme will lead to the development of not only new knowledge, but more importantly opportunities for impact within the energy sector.
Key Findings
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk