Leading solar fuels research since 1994


The Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis is a collaborative research environment with the purpose of advancing the science and utilization of solar fuels - fuel from solar energy. We bring together leading scientists with expertise in molecular biology, biophysics and biochemistry, synthetic chemistry and chemical physics.

The Consortium was started in 1994. Since then we have assembled the necessary expertise in an integrated research body, known as the Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis.

Here we present who we are and what is going on in our research. We invite anyone who wants to know more about artificial photosynthesis and solar fuels to follow the links to the homepages of our researchers.  



October 1: Sascha Ott, Eszter Borbas, Leif Hammarström and Jacinto Sá, received a 5-year grant of 35 million kronor from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, for their interdisciplinary project

"Unexplored Approaches to Organic Photoredox Catalysis”

Sascha Ott

September 11 2019: Souvik Roy, Zhehao Huang, Asamanjoy Bhunia, Ashleigh Castner, Arvind K. Gupta, Xiaodong Zou, and Sascha Ott published an article in Journal of the American Chemical Society:

Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution from a Cobaloxime-Based Metal–Organic Framework Thin Film.

Abstract: Molecular hydrogen evolution catalysts (HECs) are synthetically tunable and often exhibit high activity, but they are also hampered by stability concerns and practical limitations associated with their use in the homogeneous phase. Their incorporation as integral linker units in metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) can remedy these shortcomings. Moreover, the extended three-dimensional structure of MOFs gives rise to high catalyst loadings per geometric surface area. Herein, we report a new MOF that exclusively consists of cobaloximes, a widely studied HEC, that act as metallo-linkers between hexanuclear zirconium clusters. When grown on conducting substrates and under applied reductive potential, the cobaloxime linkers promote electron transport through the film as well as function as molecular HECs. The obtained turnover numbers are orders of magnitude higher than those of any other comparable cobaloxime system, and the molecular integrity of the cobaloxime catalysts is maintained for at least 18 h of electrocatalysis. Being one of the very few hydrogen evolving electrocatalytic MOFs based on a redox-active metallo-linker, this work explores uncharted terrain for greater catalyst diversity and charge transport pathways.

July 31 2019:  Pilla Sankara Krishna, Stenbjörn Styring and Fikret Mamedov published an article in Green chemistry: 

Photosystem ratio imbalance promotes direct sustainable H2 production in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

Abstract: The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii can photoproduce H2 gas for only a few minutes under anaerobic conditions due to the inhibition of hydrogenase by O2 produced by Photosystem II (PSII). A few days of sustained H2 production can only be achieved when O2 and H2 production are temporally separated under two-stage processes such as sulfur deprivation. Under sulfur deprivation, H2 production is initiated after the over-reduction of the plastoquinone pool and decreased PSII activity in the thylakoid membrane. As a result, activated hydrogenase consumes the excess of electrons produced by PSII [Volgusheva et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 2013, 110, 7223]. Here, we report that similar conditions can be achieved by simply altering the ratio between photosystem I (PSI) and PSII. In the C3 mutant of C. reinhardtii, we found a lower PSI/PSII ratio than in the wild type, 0.33 vs. 0.85, respectively. This imbalance of photosystems resulted in the over-reduced state of the plastoquinone pool and activation of hydrogenase in the C3 mutant that allowed the photoproduction of H2 continuously for 42 days. This is an unprecedented duration of H2 production in green algae under standard growth conditions without any nutrient limitation. Photosynthetic electron flow from PSII to hydrogenase was closely regulated during this long-term H2 production. The amount of PSII was decreased and the amount of PSI was increased reaching a PSI/PSII ratio of more than 5 as shown by EPR and fluorescence spectroscopy. This fine-tuning of photosystems allows to sustain the long-term production of H2 in C. reinhardtii by a direct photosynthetic pathway..

July 16 2019:  Xufeng Liu,  Rui Miao,  Pia Lindberg  and  Peter Lindblad published an article in Energy & Environmental Science:

Modular Engineering for Efficient Photosynthetic Biosynthesis of 1-Butanol from CO2 in Cyanobacteria

Abstract: Cyanobacteria are photoautotrophic microorganisms which can be engineered to directly convert CO2 and water into biofuels and chemicals via photosynthesis using sunlight as energy. However, product titers and rates are main challenges that need to be overcome for industrial applications. Here we present a systematic modular engineering of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803, enabling efficient biosynthesis of 1-butanol, an attractive commodity chemical and gasoline substitute. Through introducing and re-casting the 1-butanol biosynthetic pathway at gene and enzyme levels, optimizing the 5’-regions of expression units for tuning transcription and translation, rewiring carbon flux and rewriting the photosynthetic central carbon metabolism to enhance the precursor supply, and performing process development, we were able to reach a cumulative 1-butanol titer of 4.8 g∙L-1 with a maximal rate of 302 mg∙L-1∙day-1 from the engineered Synechocystis. This represents the highest 1-butanol production from CO2 reported so far. Our multi-level modular strategy for high-level production of chemicals and advanced biofuels represents a blue-print for future systematic engineering in photosynthetic microorganisms.

May 17 2019: Yaxiao Guo, Zhaoyang Yao, Brian J. Timmer, Xia Sheng, Lizhou Fan, YuanYuan Li, Fuguo Zhang, and Licheng Sun, published an article in Nano Energy:

Boosting nitrogen reduction reaction by bio-inspired FeMoS containing hybrid electrocatalyst over a wide pH range.

Abstract: A facile preparation of bio-inspired and morphology controllable catalytic electrode FeS@MoS2/CFC, featuring a carbon fiber cloth (CFC) covered with FeS dotted MoS2 nanosheets, has been established. Synergy between the CFC as a self-standing conductive substrate and the FeS nanoparticle dotted MoS2 nanosheets with abundant active sites makes the noble-metal-free catalytic electrode FeS@MoS2/CFC highly efficient in nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR), with an ammonia production rate of 8.45 μg h−1 cm−2 and excellent long-term stability at −0.5 V in pH neutral electrolyte. Further electrolysis in acidic and alkaline electrolytes revealed the overall NRR catalytic activity of this electrode over a wide pH range.

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March 4, 2019: CAP scientists in the TV news

At the CAP meeting in Umeå, CAP researchers were discussing future hydrogen technology. We also had the chance to test drive a fuel cell vehicle that runs on hydrogen gas. Swedish public service television filmed the event, which can be watched here: Vätgasbilar spås ha nyckelroll i framtiden

Participants in the CAP workshop in Sigtuna, Sweden, April 26-27, 2018.

Participants in the CAP workshop in Sigtuna, Sweden, April 26-27, 2018.

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Last updated October 18, 2019