ITQ researchers participate in the European project “FlowPhotoChem”, sunlight to convert water and CO2 into clean chemicals

Researchers from the Institute of Chemical Technology (UPV-CSIC), participate in the European project “FlowPhotoChem” (https://www.flowphotochem.eu/) in the area of ​​Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology and Advanced Processing and Manufacturing, of the program “Horizon 2020” framework of the European Union (EU).

The European Green Deal sets out to make Europe climate neutral by 2050, and the Clean Planet for All strategy set out ambitious targets to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the EU by 40% by 2030 and by 80-95% by 2050. One of the largest polluters in Europe is the chemical industry, emitting over 145 million tonnes of COequivalents each year.

As part of the “FlowPhotoChem” project, the ITQ group, led by Professor Hermenegildo García, is working on the development of innovative technologies that, using concentrated solar energy and advanced catalysts, will make it possible to convert water and CO2 into valuable chemical products. Postdoctoral researchers with a notable scientific career and training in the area, such as Dr. Josep Albero and Ana Primo, also participate in the ITQ team. “Instead of generating CO2, the integrated ‘FlowPhotoChem’ system will use CO2 as a carbon source to produce chemicals without the use of fossil fuels, reducing Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to a cleaner planet”, Hermenegildo García points out. “One of the major innovations of the project is the use of sunlight as an energy source to carry out the transformation of CO2”, comments Dr. Albero.

During the project, research teams from Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Uganda and the UK will develop better materials, innovative reactors and advanced computer models to build a proof-of-concept, integrated modular system to convert CO2 into ethylene, a valuable industrial chemical, using concentrated sunlight.

“Environmental sustainability and scalability will be key parts of the design process to secure the system in the future. To ensure that the FlowPhotoChem modular system successfully reaches the market to reduce CO2 emissions, the team will work with chemical companies that could use the technology developed in the project“, concludes Hermenegildo García.