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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

The efficient production of solar fuels by means of developing new perovskites with redox capacity for the thermochemical splitting of CO2 and H2O

Lead Researcher:
Juan Manuel Coronado Carneiro

Research Centre:
IMDEA Energía.


Juan Manuel Coronado CarneiroAlthough solar energy is now in commercial use to generate electricity using different technologies (PV and CSP), there is growing interest in using this renewable source for the production of what are known as solar fuels. These substances, which are energy rich and of varying chemical composition, are obtained by processes that make it possible to store part of solar radiation in molecular bonds. They may contribute not only to increasing the sustainability of the transport sector, but also to making more efficient use of the solar resource.

Of the options for obtaining solar fuels, thermochemical cycles based on metal oxides to split water and CO2 are one of the most promising routes to obtain gas synthesis (CO+H2), although the yields obtained to date are still limited. The design of new more efficient redox materials which are more adaptable to different operating conditions may make fully renewable fuel production a reality.

In this context, recent advances in using stoichiometrically complex perovskites such as La1-xSrxMnO3-δand La1-xSrxMnyAl1-xO3-δ show clear signs that their chemical composition and structural, morphological and textural properties are relevant factors that have to be optimised together to design better performing redox mediators. Using this holistic focus in material design, and taking advantage of the chemical versatility of perovskites, the core aim of this project is to increase the efficiencies obtained to date with these systems in producing hydrogen and synthesised gas under operating conditions that are compatible with concentrating solar systems. Likewise, the aim is to achieve better understanding of the mechanism involved in the processes that occur in the gas-solid interphase, so that the knowledge acquired can be used to optimise the redox materials used.

DResearcher's web address:

Juan Manuel Coronado Carneiro

He wrote his doctoral thesis in the Instituto Catálisis y Petroleoquímica (ICP-CSIC) and has a Doctorate in Chemistry from the Universidad Complutense, Madrid (1995). In 1997 he received a grant from the TMR "Marie Curie" program which allowed him to make a two-year postdoctoral visit to the University of Dundee (UK). He then made shorter visits to the Universities of Wisconsin (UW) and Pennsylvania State (PSU) in the USA. He was "Ramón y Cajal" Researcher in the ICP-CSIC (2003-2005) and tenured researcher in CIEMAT (2005-2009). He is currently Senior Researcher in the Thermochemical Processes Unit of IMDEA Energía, and his scientific work centres on catalysis in energy and environmental applications, together with the development of materials for the thermochemical storage of heat. Throughout his scientific career he has published more than 90 papers in high impact-index journals, and he co-edited a book in the series Green Energy & Technology. He has also presented communications in more than 90 congresses and has taken part in 15 research projects, in 4 of which he was the main researcher. He has also co-directed four doctoral theses and several master's degree projects.

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