Shaping the future: renewable fuels and chemicals from solar energy for a climate-neutral Europe
Projects involved

For years, Prof. Bert Weckhuysen has been trying to build a powerful camera to record what happens in a working catalytic solid. The long-term aim of this work is to bring this technology to a level that enables imaging catalysis at macro, meso and micro scales, from the reactor down to interactions between single atoms and molecules. He is a keen photographer, who has found a way to combine his hobby with his scientific interests in a way that significantly contributed to the significant technological advancement of the method ‘operando spectroscopy’, named by some colleagues and Weckhuysen himself. The term refers to a specialized form of in situ spectroscopy, in which measurements take place under realistic catalytic conditions of high temperature and pressure, empowering us to study catalysts in all their complexity and heterogeneity. Only this way can we accumulate enough knowledge to rationally design more efficient catalyst materials which, on one hand, are necessary to produce the energy and materials for the quickly increasing human population in a sustainable manner and, on the other hand, will help us to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide  in the atmosphere.

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Dr. Frédéric Chandezon

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Frédéric Chandezon (55), Dr. Ing. Hab. holds an engineer degree in physics (1991) from the Physics and Chemistry school of Paris (ESPCI) and a Ph.D. degree from Grenoble University (1994). After a postdoctoral stay at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, he joined CEA in Grenoble as research scientist (1996). His research interests included nanoparticles and nanomaterials for energy applications. He has an extensive experience in management and international cooperation. Until 2020, he headed the SyMMES laboratory, a CEA-CNRS-Grenoble University joint laboratory (total staff approx. 120) developing basic research on themes related to low carbon energy and health. From 2013 to 2020, he coordinated the EERA Joint Programme AMPEA (Advanced Materials and Processes for Energy Applications). Currently, he is in charge of European programmes on energy at the IRIG (Interdisciplinary Research Institute of Grenoble) institute. He is also deputy coordinator of SUNERGY, an European initiative gathering more than 300 organizations from academia (universities & RTOs), industry and society and of the SUNER-C European project (06/2022 à 05/2025). SUNERGY overarching goal is the conversion and storage of renewable energy into fossil-free fuels and commodity chemicals for the chemical and fertilizers industries.

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Prof. Joana Kargul

Joanna Kargul is University Professor in solar conversion at University of Warsaw, Poland.  She is Head of the Laboratory of Solar Fuels at the Centre of New Technologies, University of Warsaw where she applies the fundamental knowledge of oxygenic photosynthesis for construction of biohybrid solar-to-fuel devices incorporating robust biocatalysts and various conductive and semi-conductive materials. Together with her team she focuses on developing the rational approaches for maximisation of direct electron transfer in various types of biomolecular systems using state-of-the art electrochemical, spectroscopic and microscopic approaches in conjunction with QM/MM modelling of electron transfer. More recently this research has been extended to the synthesis of new smart materials forming high performance organic interfaces in solar-to-fuel devices.

Prof. Kargul obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences in 1999 from the University of Warwick, UK. Her postdoctoral research conducted in the group of James Barber at Imperial College London, UK led to several discoveries in the field of photosynthetic adaptation to extreme conditions as well as refining the crystallographic structure of the water-splitting enzyme. She obtained habilitation in 2009 from the University of Warsaw. In 2011, as the Warsaw University Professor, she established a node for solar fuels research in Poland and has led R&I projects on application of robust natural biocalatysts for construction of biohybrid solar cells and solar-to-fuel devices. She has experience and success in leading/coordinating several international initiatives (e.g. ESF EuroSolarFuels, H2020 SUNRISE, SUNERGY, POLTUR/GraphESol and most recently HE SUNER-C CSA). All these initiatives have been focused on the rational design and construction of efficient solar-to-fuel systems.

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Dr. Carina Faber

Joanna Kargul is University Professor in solar conversion at University of Warsaw, Poland.  She is Head of the Laboratory of Solar Fuels at the Centre of New Technologies, University of Warsaw where she applies the fundamental knowledge of oxygenic photosynthesis for construction of biohybrid solar-to-fuel devices incorporating robust biocatalysts and various conductive and semi-conductive materials. Together with her team she focuses on developing the rational approaches for maximisation of direct electron transfer in various types of biomolecular systems using state-of-the art electrochemical, spectroscopic and microscopic approaches in conjunction with QM/MM modelling of electron transfer. More recently this research has been extended to the synthesis of new smart materials forming high performance organic interfaces in solar-to-fuel devices.

Prof. Kargul obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences in 1999 from the University of Warwick, UK. Her postdoctoral research conducted in the group of James Barber at Imperial College London, UK led to several discoveries in the field of photosynthetic adaptation to extreme conditions as well as refining the crystallographic structure of the water-splitting enzyme. She obtained habilitation in 2009 from the University of Warsaw. In 2011, as the Warsaw University Professor, she established a node for solar fuels research in Poland and has led R&I projects on application of robust natural biocalatysts for construction of biohybrid solar cells and solar-to-fuel devices. She has experience and success in leading/coordinating several international initiatives (e.g. ESF EuroSolarFuels, H2020 SUNRISE, SUNERGY, POLTUR/GraphESol and most recently HE SUNER-C CSA). All these initiatives have been focused on the rational design and construction of efficient solar-to-fuel systems.

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Dr. Francesco Matteucci

Francesco is an innovation manager with 20 years of experience spent as a researcher in materials science, as a Corporate R&D Manager within the field of technologies for renewable energy production and storage, and as an intermediary of knowledge trying to exploit the research results within the field of energy and environment. As R&D Corporate manager, he also cofounded and directed several start-ups and joint-labs managing public-private partnerships.As a facilitator of knowledge exploitation (IoK), he co-managed publicly funded projects, as well as Emilia Romagna Climate-KIC Innovation Centre, Dhitech Living Lab on Nanotechnologies, Emilia-Romagna Greentech Clust-ER. Francesco acted as scientific expert within the Vanguard Initiative ADMA Pilot, reviewer of research projects, co-authored over 30 scientific papers, 5 patents, and was Visiting Professor at the University of Ferrara as well as speakers in many conferences and workshops. Since October 2020 he is the EIC Programme Manager for advanced materials for energy and environmental sustainability.

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Prof. Ann Magnuson

Ann Magnuson has been a member of the Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis since 1995, and is executive board member in SUNERGY. A chemist by training she took her Ph.D. in 1998 at Lund university, and has been a faculty member at Uppsala university since 2005. Her scientific research covers both natural and artificial photosynthesis, with a focus on water oxidation and molecular donor-acceptor assemblies. She and has had a number of commissions as expert for the U.S. Department of Energy, the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Commission, and was an active participant in the EU project SUNRISE. Her current research interests include hydrogen bonding networks in photosynthetic water oxidation, and continuing collaboratioans on molecular catalysts. 

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Prof. Ann Magnuson

Ann Magnuson has been a member of the Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis since 1995, and is executive board member in SUNERGY. A chemist by training she took her Ph.D. in 1998 at Lund university, and has been a faculty member at Uppsala university since 2005. Her scientific research covers both natural and artificial photosynthesis, with a focus on water oxidation and molecular donor-acceptor assemblies. She and has had a number of commissions as expert for the U.S. Department of Energy, the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Commission, and was an active participant in the EU project SUNRISE. Her current research interests include hydrogen bonding networks in photosynthetic water oxidation, and continuing collaboratioans on molecular catalysts. 

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Prof. Ann Magnuson

Ann Magnuson has been a member of the Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis since 1995, and is executive board member in SUNERGY. A chemist by training she took her Ph.D. in 1998 at Lund university, and has been a faculty member at Uppsala university since 2005. Her scientific research covers both natural and artificial photosynthesis, with a focus on water oxidation and molecular donor-acceptor assemblies. She and has had a number of commissions as expert for the U.S. Department of Energy, the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Commission, and was an active participant in the EU project SUNRISE. Her current research interests include hydrogen bonding networks in photosynthetic water oxidation, and continuing collaboratioans on molecular catalysts. 

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Prof. Ann Magnuson

Ann Magnuson has been a member of the Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis since 1995, and is executive board member in SUNERGY. A chemist by training she took her Ph.D. in 1998 at Lund university, and has been a faculty member at Uppsala university since 2005. Her scientific research covers both natural and artificial photosynthesis, with a focus on water oxidation and molecular donor-acceptor assemblies. She and has had a number of commissions as expert for the U.S. Department of Energy, the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Commission, and was an active participant in the EU project SUNRISE. Her current research interests include hydrogen bonding networks in photosynthetic water oxidation, and continuing collaboratioans on molecular catalysts. 

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