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Advancing Technology to Produce Liquid Fuels from Sunlight

Professor Greg Parsons
Professor Gregory Parsons

Professor Gregory Parsons is a member of a multi-institutional research team that will develop technologies to produce liquid fuels from sunlight.

The Center for Hybrid Approaches in Solar Energy to Liquid Fuels (CHASE) at UNC-Chapel Hill is the recipient of a $40M grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to carryout the research. The CHASE team includes more than 35 investigators at UNC-CH, NCSU, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Emory University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

The Center’s specific mission is 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.

At NCSU, Prof. Parsons and Profs. Felix Castellano, Elena Jakubikova and Paul Maggard of the Department of Chemistry will receive $3.3 million over five years for their work. Prof. Parsons’ contribution will be to use atomic layer deposition and related atomic-scale chemical processes to modify and prepare semiconductor surfaces with atomic-scale precision to guide molecular catalysts surface adhesion and electrochemical charge transfer with semiconductors.

Prof. Parsons is the Celanese Acetate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. His research interests include atomic layer deposition and related processes; physics of electronic materials and devices; coating and chemical surface modification; metal-organic-framework (MOF) materials and thin films; and solar energy conversion.

An announcement about the grant on the DOE web site can be viewed here.