The European Commission revealed that the recipient of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prize for Artificial Photosynthesis is the University of Tokyo in cooperation with the Japanese INPEX Corporation.
EuChemS has worked on topics related to Artificial Photosynthesis: in 2016, it released a white paper on Solar Driven Chemistry, in which it examined the opportunities solar energy can provide to drive chemical reactions. The recognition of Artificial Photosynthesis by EIC is an important milestone of solar driven chemistry, which EuChemS described as a “visionary concept” with great potential.
The goal of the competition was the development of a fuel production system that relies on combining sunlight, water and carbon. The winning project produced renewable methane gas powering an engine during the 72 hour demonstration held in Ispara, Italy, during the summer of this year. Artificial photosynthesis, using which this project functions, is an emerging technology which holds a potential to reduce relying on fossil fuel usage. It is on the radar of the EIC since 2017, the year when it opened the contest up.
The Award Ceremony was held on 5 December. From the 22 nominees, three finalists were selected: the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA), France, the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, alongside the winning Tokyo University. The European Union contributes to an international initiative named Mission Innovation Challenge ‘Converting Sunlight to fuels and chemicals’ by offering this prize, which is, amongst other similar prizes, calls for innovative solutions for major contemporary challenges.