Chemistry Researchers Receive $3.3M as Part of New Solar Energy Center

Phil Castellano in his laser lab

Three researchers from NC State’s Department of Chemistry and one from the College of Engineering are part of a team that recently received U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding to establish a research center to advance artificial photosynthesis for the production of fuels from sunlight.

Felix (Phil) Castellano, Elena Jakubikova and Paul Maggard of the Department of Chemistry, along with Greg Parsons in the College of Engineering, will receive $3.3 million over five years for their work with the Center for Hybrid Approaches in Solar Energy to Liquid Fuels (CHASE), which is led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. CHASE seeks to develop hybrid photoelectrodes for fuel production that combine semiconductors for light absorption with molecular catalysts for energy conversion and fuel production. Its work will also blend experiment with theory to understand and establish new design principles for fuels-from-sunlight systems.

The CHASE team includes more than 35 investigators at six institutions. The other collaborators are Brookhaven National Laboratory, Emory University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

“We are excited about the potential of the CHASE Solar Hub to forge key partnerships that will advance solar energy research, creating new strategies for producing liquid fuels from sunlight,” said Castellano, professor of chemistry and Goodnight Innovation Distinguished Chair.

CHASE is one of two new projects receiving a total of $100 million in funding from the DOE Fuels From Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub program. The DOE’s major investment in this program represents its continuing resource commitment to this increasingly promising and competitive research area.