Accelerating the LIST Materials roadmap towards hydrogen technologies, LIST researcher Dr Nicolas Boscher was awarded a prestigious ERC Consolidator grant by the European Research Council. Dr Boscher will receive EUR 1.9 M in funding over the next five years for the CLEANH2 project entitled ‘Chemical Engineering of Fused MetalloPorphyrins Thin Films for the Clean Production of Hydrogen’.
The European Research Council uses ERC grants to support outstanding researchers in developing their own projects. To receive ERC grants, applicants must not only demonstrate excellence in research, but also provide evidence of the pioneering nature of their project and its feasibility.
Faced with the current worldwide energy and environmental crisis, the CLEANH2 project aims to develop a new class of materials for the clean and efficient production of hydrogen from ‘solar water splitting’. While ‘solar water splitting’ has been implemented naturally for over three billion years on a global scale and from abundant and sustainable materials, cost-effective artificial photosynthesis remains an unmet challenge. Nicolas Boscher, from the Materials Research and Technology Department (MRT), will create photocatalytic polymers assembled from chlorophyll-related molecules (porphyrins). The field is still relatively unexplored but if this breakthrough is achieved, it could support a new economy built not on fossil fuels but on hydrogen. The CLEANH2 project could pave the way for advanced technological applications related to a future economy drawing on hydrogen technologies.
To meet the challenge, Dr Boscher will build on the recent groundbreaking developments achieved within LIST in the framework of the POLYPORPH project, funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund. The overall aim of the POLYPORPH project is to provide a deep understanding of the reactivity of porphyrins in the gas phase and deliver an upscalable route towards the engineering of conductive metal-organic network coatings.
The CLEANH2 project, one of several projects highlighted in the European Research Council press release on the ERC Consolidator Grant 2019 competition emphasized the strategic position of LIST, bridging science and industry, and driven by the excellence of its research staff and its top-notch research infrastructure.