New energy sources I: Solar fuels

Monday, October 29th, 8:30 am - 10:30 am
Room 305AB
Tom Meyer

Photosynthesis is a complex chemical process refined over 2.4 billion years of evolution. Tom Meyer thinks chemists now have the tools to harness the sun’s energy with far simpler chemistry. “I don’t have 2.4 billion years,” Meyer, says “but I’ve got wires and semiconductors.” Meyer and colleagues at the UNC-based Energy Research Frontier Center in Solar Fuels are combining fairly simple components—light-absorbing molecules, catalysts such as ruthenium and copper (II), the semiconductor titanium dioxide, water, carbon dioxide and some wires—to create processes that are fast approaching the efficiencies needed to be practical. Their major goal is solar fuels: fuels made from light, water and readily available carbon dioxide that store the sun’s energy in a concentrated, portable form.

Attendees who register at the CASW website can download background material and the presentation at