The funding will support the establishment of one large or possibly two smaller DOE Energy Innovation Hubs


US DOE approves funding for research on solar fuels. (Credit: Pixabay/Bruno /Germany)

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has unveiled plans to provide $100m to support the research on artificial photosynthesis for the production of solar fuels from sunlight.

The funding will support the establishment of one large or possibly two smaller DOE Energy Innovation Hubs.

The hubs will include multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research teams that aim to speed up the fundamental scientific breakthroughs which are required to support solar fuel production.

Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar said: “Sunlight is our most basic energy source, and the ability to generate fuels directly from sunlight has the potential to transform our energy economy and vastly enhance U.S. energy security.

“This effort will ensure that American scientists continue to lead in the highly challenging but extremely promising area of artificial photosynthesis research.”

The goal of the research is to develop an artificial photosynthesis system

The research aims to develop an artificial photosynthesis system, which would be similar to natural photosynthesis, to produce usable fuels directly from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water.

The research is expected to leverage the capabilities and accomplishments which are developed by the solar fuels research community that include work by the DOE Office of Science-supported Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, Energy Frontier Research Centers, and core research programs.

The projects seeking the funding support will have to focus on research priorities which were identified by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences within DOE’s Office of Science in August last year.

DOE said that the total planned funding will be approximately $100m for awards beginning in Fiscal Year 2020 and up to five years in duration.

Recently, DOE has approved up to $38.5m in funding to develop technologies under the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) programme, Rapid Encapsulation of Pipelines Avoiding Intensive Replacement (REPAIR) to rehabilitate natural gas distribution pipelines.