We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Privacy Policy

Skip to main content

Materials Research Institute



Prof Erwin Reisner - (University of Cambridge) Solar-driven Fuel Synthesis with Hybrid Photocatalysts

Image: Professor Erwin Reisner
Professor Erwin Reisner

Date: 25 April 2018   Time: 15:00 - 16:00

The synthesis of solar fuels and chemicals through artificial photosynthesis does not only require the coupling of solar light absorption and charge separation, but also the direct pairing with chemical redox processes. This approach is a one-step and versatile alternative to the more indirect coupling of a photovoltaic cell with electrolysis and enables potentially the synthesis of a wide range of fuels and feedstock chemicals. A common drawback in most artificial photosynthetic systems and organic photocatalysis is their reliance on expensive materials and device architectures, which challenges the development of ultimately scalable systems. Another limitation in many approaches is their inefficiency and reliance on sacrificial redox reagents, which may be system damaging and often prevent truly energy-storing chemistry to proceed. This presentation will give an overview about our recent progress in developing semiconductor hybrid materials to perform efficient full redox cycle solar fuel catalysis with inexpensive components, and our first steps in extending this approach for sustainable biomass photoreforming and fine chemical synthesis.

Prof Erwin Reisner is interested in artificial photosynthesis and solar fuels and developing novel photocatalytic systems by combining homogenous synthetic catalysts and enzymes with a light absorbing nanostructured semiconductor. His current focus lies on the sunlight-driven production of the high specific energy carrier hydrogen and the selective conversion of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and formic acid. His cross-disciplinary laboratory covers a wide range of disciplines, from Synthetic Molecular and Materials Chemistry to Biological Chemistry combined with Electro-, Photochemistry and Nanoscience.

Representative recent references
(1) “Solar Hydrogen Generation from Lignocellulose”
Kuehnel, Reisner, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2018, 57, 3290.
(2) “Photocatalytic CO2 Reduction in Water through Anchoring of a Molecular Ni Catalyst on CdS Nanocrystals”
Kuehnel, Orchard, Dalle, Reisner, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 7217.
(3) “Solar-driven reforming of lignocellulose to H2 with a CdS/CdOx photocatalyst”
Wakerley, Kuehnel, Orchard, Ly, Rosser, Reisner, Nature Energy, 2017, 2, 17021.
(4) “Enhancing Light Absorption and Charge Transfer in Carbon Dots through Graphitization and Core N-doping”
Martindale, Hutton, Caputo, Prantl, Godin, Durrant, Reisner, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 6459.
(5) “Carbon Dots as Versatile Photosensitizers for Solar-Driven Catalysis with Redox Enzymes”
Hutton, Reuillard, Martindale, Caputo, Lockwood, Butt, Reisner, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 16722.
(6) “Solar-driven Reduction of Protons Coupled to Alcohol Oxidation with a Carbon Nitride-Catalyst System”
Kasap, Caputo, Martindale, Godin, Lau, Lotsch, Durrant, Reisner, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 9183.
(7) “Clean Donor Oxidation Enhances H2 Evolution Activity of a Carbon Dot-Catalyst Photosystem”
Martindale, Joliat, Bachmann, Alberto, Reisner, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 9402.
(8) “Electrocatalytic and Solar-driven CO2 Reduction with a Mn Catalyst Immobilized on Mesoporous TiO2”
Rosser, Windle, Reisner, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 7388.

Location:  Bancroft Building: David Sizer Lecture Theatre, Mile End