DOE to Provide $75 Million for ‘Fuels from Sunlight’ Hub


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $75 million in funding to renew the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub originally established in 2010 with the goal of harnessing solar energy for the production of fuel.

The department says JCAP researchers are focused on achieving the major scientific breakthroughs needed to produce liquid transportation fuels from a combination of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, using artificial photosynthesis.

The DOE says that although the scientific challenges of producing such fuels are considerable, JCAP will capitalize on state-of-the-art capabilities developed during its initial five years of research, including sophisticated characterization tools and unique automated high-throughput experimentation that can quickly make and screen large libraries of materials to identify components for artificial photosynthesis systems. Â

“JCAP's work to produce fuels from sunlight and carbon dioxide holds the promise of a potentially revolutionary technology that would put America on the path to a low-carbon economy,” says U.S. Under Secretary for Science and Energy Lynn Orr.

JCAP is led by the California Institute of Technology in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and it operates research sites at both institutions. Additional partners include SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; the University of California, Irvine; and the University of California, San Diego.

Under the renewal plan, the DOE says the five-year-old center would receive funding for an additional five years of research, subject to congressional appropriations.

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