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Participation in a conference Materials and Methods for Solar Chemical Production” at Universitat Politècnica de València


Dr. Nilesh R. Manwar and Prof. Juan Carlos Colmenares Q. presented a poster on a PASIFIC research titled Plasmon-induced 2D-supported catalysts promoted CO2 conversions and thermo-photocatalytic biomass valorization” at the first Solar2Chem winter school program at conference Materials and Methods for Solar Chemical Production” at Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) in Spain.

Their research aims to develop a sustainable approach for converting lignocellulosic biomass into useful chemicals using a thermo-photocatalytic approach.

Research poster was well-received and they visited several centers during the conference, like: 

  1. Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV);

  2. Institut Universitari Mixt de Technologia Quimica (ITQ) CSIC-UPV and

  3. Museu De Les Ciencies, Valencia


To overcome the future energy demands of this régime, the researchers are striving to harvest sustainable energy resources (lignocellulosic biomass and solar energy) and other energy prerequisites (CO2, N2, O2, and H2O), remarkably converted into fuels and useful chemicals. These are crucial for recent advanced technologies of fuel cells, electrolyzers, batteries, and biofuels. From the last few decades, considerable attention has been paid to developing clean and sustainable photobiorefinery approaches for CO2 recyclability and lignocellulosic biomass-derived furanic compounds [(e.g., 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF), and furfural (FUR)].

These platform compounds are either used as a fuel in transportation or in chemical industries as precursors for deriving other added-value chemicals. The multi- catalytic approach (thermo-photo-catalysis) was recently introduced, where the synergy between photocatalysis and thermo-catalysis was examined for energy and environmental applications. This heterogeneous thermo-photocatalytic approach has great potential to develop a superior catalytic activity, where positive aspects of photocatalysis and traditional thermal catalysis can be merged to obtain the high conversion of lignocellulosic organic waste into useful chemicals.

Therefore, the thermo-photocatalytic approach would be the viable technology for lignocellulosic biomass transformation into top value-added chemicals, such as 1,4-diacids (succinic, fumaric, and malic), 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid, 3-hydroxy propionic acid, aspartic acid, glucaric acid, glutamic acid, itaconic acid, levulinic acid, 3- hydroxybutyrolactone, glycerol, sorbitol, and xylitol/​arabinitol. Indeed, all these formed products and their derivatives can serve as energy storage and can be employed to compensate for energy fluctuations from renewable energy sources by classical combustion or in combination with fuel cells. Therefore, this approach is also referred to as the artificial CO2 cycle. Thermo-photocatalytic conversion efficacy depends on efficient, stable, and active catalysts (e.g., Rh, Ni, Ir, etc.). However, the scarcity of these catalysts hampers the widespread utilization of thermo-photocatalytic reactions. Significant efforts are required to increase the stability and activity of those catalysts. The catalytic activity increased by reducing the particle size; however, two-dimensional (2D) structures improved stability.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847639 and from the Ministry of Education and Science.

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