Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) have gained important new insight into how the performance of a promising semiconducting thin film can be optimized at the nanoscale for renewable energy technologies such as solar fuels.
DOE has awarded $60 million to a new solar fuels initiative – called the Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA) – led by Caltech in close partnership with Berkeley Lab. LiSA will build on the foundational work of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP).
Copper that was once bound with oxygen is better at converting CO2 into renewable fuels than copper that was never bound to oxygen, according to Berkeley Lab and Caltech scientists. They say it’s better to have had something special and lost it than to have never had it at all – who would have thought that holds true for metal oxides within solar fuel catalysts?
As we look back at a decade of discovery, we highlight 10 scientific breakthroughs by researchers at Berkeley Lab and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis that bring us closer to a solar fuels future.
Scientists at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis have invented the first solar-powered fuel generating cell that allows for unobtrusive observation of an operating catalyst. This advance will enable the discovery of new, more efficient catalysts, which could help bring solar fuel cells from the lab bench to the real world.
A study led by Berkeley Lab has uncovered new insight into how to better control the catalyst cobalt oxide for artificial photosynthesis.
Two Berkeley Lab scientists – climate scientist Inez Fung of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, and chemist Martin Head-Gordon of the Energy Sciences Area – have been elected to the Royal Society of London, the oldest scientific academic society in continuous existence.
A discovery by researchers at Berkeley Lab and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis shows that recycling carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals and fuels can be economical and efficient – all through a single copper catalyst.
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, have developed an artificial photosynthesis device called a “hybrid photoelectrochemical and voltaic (HPEV) cell” that turns sunlight and water into two types of energy – hydrogen fuel and electricity.
In the quest to realize artificial photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into fuel – just as plants do – researchers need to not only identify materials to efficiently perform photoelectrochemical water splitting, but also to understand why a certain material may or may not work. Now scientists at Berkeley Lab have pioneered a technique that uses nanoscale imaging to understand how local, nanoscale properties can affect a material’s macroscopic performance.