Hydrogen has properties that make it an ideal potential candidate for a sustainable fuel. However, it can only be considered a sustainable fuel is the water splitting reaction is driven by a sustainable energy source. Sunlight is the most obvious choice, but this currently requires an electrolytic cell that is not very efficient and expensive to produce. That is why research is currently focusing on finding ways of producing solar fuels directly from sunlight and water, without the need for the conversion to and from electricity. One line of research focuses on artificial photosynthesis: non-natural systems that perform similar functions as found in photosynthetic organisms, but are tailored to the production of hydrogen or related fuels. René Becker focuses on an important part of the water splitting reaction, the proton reduction half reaction in which hydrogen is generated. He uses an artificial catalyst based on all-iron hydrogenase, [FeFe]H2ase, a naturally occurring enzyme.
R. Becker: [FeFe]Hydrogenase Mimics for Proton Reduction Catalysis.
Prof. J.N.H. Reek
Dr J.I. van der Vlugt
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