State of the art
- The sun is the most sustainable light source available on our planet; therefore, the direct use of sunlight for photochemistry is extremely appealing.
- In the last decade, a myriad of novel visible-light mediated photocatalytic transformations have been developed that are of interest in pharmaceutical research, material science, and surface modification.
- These reactions are ideal for solar applications since they use photocatalysts with high extinction coefficients in the visible range, nicely matching the peak of solar radiation.
- However, challenges associated with the dilute energy content and fluctuating intensity of natural sunlight have hampered the development of solar photochemistry.
Scheme 11. Luminescent Solar Concentrator-based Photomicroreactors (LSC-PM).
Progress beyond the state of the art
- At UvA, conceptually novel photomicroreactors were developed which can harvest solar energy for synthetic applications, called Luminescent Solar Concentrator-based Photomicroreactors (LSC-PM) (See Scheme 11).
- The LSC-PM can be manufactured with different dyes, as far as the absorption of the fluorophore matches with the spectral demands of the photocatalytic reaction being performed.
- A simple reaction control system can be designed that updates in real-time the residence time in the reactor by modifying the pump flow rate based on the light intensity measured via a phototransistor placed at the device edge. Hence, the reaction can cope with variable weather conditions.
- New LSC-PM will be developed which can have increased solar harvesting capacity. This will be achieved by incorporating upconverting nanoparticles which allow harvesting also infrared energy.
- New LSC-PM made from glass will be made which should make photocatalysis at elevated pressure and temperature accessible.
- The reactors will be tested outside in the sun for at least a full day production.
- Different reactions developed in WP3 will be performed in LSC-PM using solar irradiation.