On the path to an energy transition away from fossil fuels to sustainable sources, the European Union is for the moment keeping pace with the objectives of the Strategic Energy Technology-Plan. For this trend to continue after 2020, scientific breakthroughs must be achieved. One main objective is to produce solar fuels from solar energy and water in direct processes to accomplish the efficient storage of solar energy in a chemical form. This is a grand scientific challenge. One important approach to achieve this goal is Artificial Photosynthesis. The European Energy Research Alliance has launched the Joint Programme “Advanced Materials & Processes for Energy Applications” (AMPEA) to foster the role of basic science in Future Emerging Technologies. European researchers in artificial photosynthesis recently met at an AMPEA organized workshop to define common research strategies and milestones for the future. Through this work artificial photosynthesis became the first energy research sub-field to be organised into what is designated “an Application” within AMPEA. The ambition is to drive and accelerate solar fuels research into a powerful European field – in a shorter time and with a broader scope than possible for individual or national initiatives. Within AMPEA the Application Artificial Photosynthesis is inclusive and intended to bring together all European scientists in relevant fields. The goal is to set up a thorough and systematic programme of directed research, which by 2020 will have advanced to a point where commercially viable artificial photosynthetic devices will be under development in partnership with industry.
About the authors
Anders Thapper (b. 1972) did his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at Lund University, Sweden in 2001. After a postdoctoral stay at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, he went to Uppsala University in 2005. In Uppsala he initially studied Photosystem II together with Pr. Stenbjörn Styring and is now a researcher working with artificial photosynthesis and manganese and cobalt based catalysts for water oxidation. He has published over 25 papers on artificial photosynthesis and bioinorganic chemistry.
Stenbjörn Styring (b. 1951) took his PhD in 1985 in biochemistry at Göteborg University and then carried out post doctoral studies in Gif-sur-Yvette and at CEA Saclay. He was chair in Biochemistry at Lund University before he moved to Uppsala University where he is a Professor in Molecular Biomimetics since 2006. His research concerns mechanistic aspects of the oxygen evolving enzyme in Photosystem II, as well as artificial photosynthesis of manganese, cobalt and ruthenium-manganese complexes intended for photocatalytic oxidation of water and he has ca 250 publications in those fields. He leads the Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis since the start in 1994. For the EU he has coordinated the networks Ru-Mn for Artificial Photosynthesis, SOLAR-H and SOLAR-H2.
Guido Saracco (b. 1965) got his PhD in Chemical Engineering in 1995 at the Politecnico di Torino. He is now the Head of the Department of Applied Science and Technology and Chair of “Chemistry”. He authored more than 200 publications on environmental catalysis, clean energy production processes, treatment of industrial effluents, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, biofuels, and water photolysis, a field where he coordinates the VII FP EU projects Solhydromics, ArtipHyction and Eco2CO2 … .
A. William Rutherford (b. 1955) got his PhD at University College London. He did post-doctoral studies in biophysics of photosynthesis at the University of Illinois USA, RIKEN Japan and CEA Saclay France. He entered the CNRS in 1983 working on water splitting in association with the chemistry group at University Paris XI. He became head of the CNRS unit in 1992 and becoming Head of CEA Service of Bioenergetics in 2000. From 2011 he took up the Chair of Biochemistry of Solar Energy at Imperial College London, joining the Imperial's Artificial Leaf Program. He is President of the International Society of Photosynthesis Research, an EMBO member and holds a Wolfson Merit Award. His main fields are natural and artificial photosynthesis having ca. 180 papers in refereed journals.
Bruno Robert (b. 1957) graduated in theoretical physics at the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6). After a PhD in Natural Sciences and a post-doctoral stay at the Department of Chemistry of Harvard University, he developed a team on photosynthetic light-harvesting and primary charge separation processes at the CEA Saclay, France. Presently President of the French Biophysical Society, Professor of Physics at the Vrije Univerteit Amsterdam, he was in 2011 laureate of an ERC advanced grant in physics. He is in charge, together with Pr. Sebastian Fiechter, of the coordination of AMPEA Artificial Photosynthesis.
Ann Magnusson (b. 1964) took her PhD in Biochemistry at Lund University and carried out post-doctoral research at University of California at Davis and Michigan State University. Since 2005 she is an associate professor at Uppsala University. A member of the Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis since 1996, her research interests include manganese- and ruthenium-manganese biomimetic complexes for artificial photosynthesis, as well as the photosynthetic enzymes of plants and cyanobacteria.
Wolfgang Lubitz (b. 1949) received his doctoral degree (1977) and habilitation (1982) in Chemistry at the FU Berlin. From 1983–89 he worked at UC San Diego and as assistant and associate professor at FU Berlin, and 1989–91 at the University Stuttgart. From 1991–2001 he was Chair of Physical Chemistry at the TU Berlin. In 2000 he became Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and is now Director at the new Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim/Ruhr. His work focuses on structure and function of energy-converting biological systems and related chemical models using spectroscopic, electrochemical and theoretical methods. The main subjects are metallo-enzymes (wateroxidase and hydrogenase). His work is documented in over 350 publications.
Antoni Llobet (b. 1960) received his BS and PhD degrees in Chemistry from the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona in Spain. Following that, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina, in the laboratories of Thomas J. Meyer and at Texas A&M University with Donald T. Sawyer and Arthur E. Martell. He is currently a professor of Chemistry at Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona in Spain, visiting professor at Ewha Womens University in Seoul, Korea and group leader at ICIQ in Spain. His research interests are related to all aspects of redox catalysis and artificial photosynthesis.
Philipp Kurz (b. 1976) studied chemistry in Leipzig (Germany) and Zurich (Switzerland). His interest in photosynthesis started already as a diploma student, when he investigated photosynthetic picoplankton from Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Since then, the synthesis and investigation of inorganic compounds for artificial photosynthesis has been the central topic of his research, both as a PhD student of Roger Alberto at the University of Zurich and as a postdoc in the group of Stenbjörn Styring in Uppsala (Sweden). From 2007 to 2012 he was a junior research group leader in Kiel (Germany) and recently moved to Freiburg (Germany) where he is a professor at the Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry.
Alfred Holzwarth (b. 1949) studied chemistry at Freie Universität Berlin and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich. After his PhD in Physical Chemistry, he moved to the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim/Ruhr, Germany to study photo-induced energy and electron transfer reactions. He is also teaching Biophysics at the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf. He is directing one of the leading groups in the study of primary processes and regulation mechanisms in natural photosynthesis. During the last 10 years his research focused on the transfer of knowledge from natural photosynthesis to the design of artificial photosynthetic systems. He has also been very active in science policy actions to pave the way for research activities aiming at the long-term replacement of fossil fuels by renewable fuels.
Sebastian Fiechter (b. 1954) studied mineralogy and crystallography at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Germany) and got his PhD on a topic of crystal growth supervised by Pr. R. Nitsche. In 1983 he joined the group of Pr. H. Tributsch at the Hahn-Meitner-Institute (HMI) in Berlin working on the development of new absorber materials for thin film solar cells. From 1998–2008 he focused his research on novel fuel cell catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction. In 2008 he introduced together with Pr. H.-J. Lewerenz (now CALTECH – JCAP; Pasadena) the research topic Solar Fuels at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, successor of HMI, which has led to the foundation of a new institute directed by Pr. Dr. Roel van de Krol. Pr. Fiechter is teaching at the Technical University Berlin. Together with Pr. B. Robert he is coordinating AMPEA Artificial Photosynthesis.
Huub de Groot (b. 1958) holds a PhD in physics from Leiden University. After a period at MIT he joined the chemistry faculty in Leiden. He works with Solid State NMR on photosynthesis, on biomimetic catalysts and on multiscale modelling for the design of modular nanodevices for solar fuel. He coordinated the ESF science policy brief on solar fuels, is in the board of the EuroSolarFuel Eurocores program and coordinates one of its collaborative research programs. Huub de Groot serves as the scientific director of the Dutch BioSolar Cells public private partnership, and contributes to its research, valorization and innovation projects.
Sebastiano Campagna (b. 1959) received the Laurea in Chemistry (cum laude) from the University of Messina in 1983. Since 1985 he spent about a decade as a post-doctoral fellow at the Chemistry Department “G. Ciamician” of the University of Bologna, in the group of Pr. Vincenzo Balzani. In 1998 he joined the Science Faculty of the University of Messina, where he is now Professor of Physical Chemistry. In 1995 he was awarded the Raffaello Nasini Prize (Società Chimica Italiana). He is the Coordinator of the Nano-Solar network project, funded by the Italian MIUR, and co-Director of SOLAR-CHEM, an Italian interuniversity center for artificial photosynthesis. His research fields include light- and redox-active dendrimers, Ru(II) photophysics, and artificial photosynthesis. He is the authors of ca. 200 papers.
Artur Braun (b. 1965) is a physicist from RWTH Aachen (magnetic surfaces) with a doctoral degree in electrochemistry from ETH Zürich and Paul Scherrer Institut (supercapacitors). Artur worked with Pr. Elton Cairns and Pr. Stephen P. Cramer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (lithium batteries and protein spectroscopy) and with Pr. Gerald P. Huffman at University of Kentucky (fossil fuels), before he returned to Empa in Switzerland as Marie Curie Fellow and group leader (fuel cells, solar hydrogen). He has a prestigiously low Erdös number of 3 and authored over 100 publications. Due to his expertise in electronic structure and transport properties of energy maerials and synchrotron/neutron methods, he is energy editor of Current Applied Physics (Elsevier). Artur Braun considers artificial photosynthesis a chance, not a challenge.
Hervé Bercegol (b. 1966) is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure (Paris). He got a doctorate in physics from the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6) in 1991 for an experimental, fundamental work on a 2D solid. After a post-doctoral work on surface spectroscopies of materials in the University of Cincinnati USA, he worked for the company Saint-Gobain and for CEA, mainly on surface related materials questions. From 1998 to 2008, he was the leader of laser damage studies for the Laser Mégajoule project. Since 2010, he has been in charge of a new CEA programme designed to foster innovative concepts for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Within the European Energy Research Alliance, Hervé Bercegol coordinates the Joint Programme AMPEA.
Vincent Artero (b. 1973) is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure (Paris) and from the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6). His doctoral work (2000) under the supervision of Prof. A. Proust dealt with organometallic derivatives of polyoxometalates. After a postdoctoral stay in Aachen with Prof. U. Kölle, he joined in 2001 the Laboratory of Chemistry and Biology of Metals in Grenoble where he obtained a position in the Life Science Division of the CEA. His current research interests are in the structural and functional modelisation of hydrogenases and the design of artificial systems for the photo- and electroproduction of hydrogen. He obtained in 2011 the Grand Prix Mergier-Bourdeix from the French Academy of Sciences and is a 2012 laureate of the ERC starting grant fellowship.
© by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston