• ICIQ
  • ICIQ
  • ICIQ

Artificial photosynthesis

The Project

Do you imagine obtaining energy from water and light, as plants do? What if we could create an artificial leaf capable of doing the photosynthesis and use the energy produced as fuel to use in our daily life? In this project you will learn how to copy the natural photosynthesis process in the lab to discover different ways to use and store solar energy.

We would like to make students aware of how chemistry plays a critical role in the search for new energy solutions by providing sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. The production of hydrogen from water is one of the most promising opportunities for a clean and sustainable energy production. The students participating in this project will see the whole process of obtaining hydrogen from water by building their own water-splitting device. To this end they will learn how to syntetize four inorganic compounds, build complete electrodes, measure different parameters of the electrodes and its efficiency, use the electrodes to obtain hydrogen from water, and investigate different catalyst materials along with their deposition solutions and conditions.

During the project, different electrodes will be tested in the water oxidation experiment and the students will draw their own conclusions. They will be required to deliver a report describing the procedure for evaluating the activity, stability and electrochemically active surface area for heterogeneous catalysts under standard conditions. At the end of the project, students will fully understand the process of water oxidation, redox reactions and catalytic reactions. They will also get expertise in performing laboratory tasks and in looking for information and references for the synthesis and characterization of catalysts. Students will get familiar with scientific articles so they can improve and deepen their knowledge in chemistry.

Matching profiles

Chemistry, physics, engineering

Required materials

Lab coat, laptop

Coordinator of the project
Laia Pellejà

Laia Pellejà

Laia Pellejà career began at an early stage in various departments of the Central Research Bayer AG in Germany, where he combined his job as a laboratory technician with his studies in chemistry (1997-2004). In a second phase, she focused more on industry and spent more than a year doing research on polyurethane learning the process of a batch plant, causing production and quality controls and developing a research project entirely. In 2005 he joined the ICIQ as a researcher and in 2009 she joined the group of Prof. Palomares where she developed his doctoral thesis in molecular photovoltaic devices obtaining extraordinary awards from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Since 2014 she is in charge of the scientific outreach of the ICIQ.

Associated researchers
Luís Lanzetta

Luís Lanzetta

Luís Lanzetta has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry at University of Barcelona (2014). Lluis was a member of the first edition of the Youth & Science Programme of the Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation, and has worked on nanostructured photovoltaic devices during summer internships at Prof. Emilio Palomares group at ICIQ (2008-2014). Winner of the Catalan Government Youth Research Award and the University Grant Award (2010) for being among the students with the highest university access test grades. In 2014, Lluis was awarded a Fundación Iberdrola Scholarship to study a Marster’s Degree in Nanomaterials at the Imperial College in London (United Kingdom), where he is currently a PhD student at Dr. Saif Haque group.

The center
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The Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) is internationally known as a leading institution in the field of chemistry committed with performing research at the frontiers of knowledge.