About Solar Fuels
Energy and climate change are some of the most important challenges facing society. Sunlight is plentiful, but how can we store the Sun’s energy for use when the Sun doesn’t shine? One way is to use sunlight to drive chemical reactions that make fuels, storing solar energy in the form of chemical bonds. Most simply, we can use sunlight to split water to make hydrogen – a clean, renewable fuel. We can also use sunlight to turn CO2 (a greenhouse gas) into useful fuels. The overall research challenge is to develop technologies that efficiently convert solar energy into ‘solar fuels’ (for example hydrogen or methanol). ‘Solar fuels’ could reduce net CO2 emissions by displacing fossil fuels currently used for transportation and in industrial processes such as fertiliser manufacture.