Welcome to Solar Fuels Research Environment Umeå Website!

World demand for energy is rapidly increasing and is projected to more than double by 2050. This – together with the ongoing climate change – makes the development of devices and procedures for renewable production of carbon neutral fuels one of today’s major scientific challenges. At Umeå University we have formed three interdisciplinary research projects, the ‘Strong Research Environment Solar Fuels’, the ‘Artificial Leaf Project Umeå’, and the ‘MicroBiorefine project’ that address these challenges. Our research team consists scientists from the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering that work not only in different research laboratories, but also in different Universities and Research Centres.

The Solar Fuels Strong Research Environment at Umeå University was formed in 2010 and is supported until 2015 by a 7 MSEK grant of Umeå University. The primary aims are to reveal in detail those processes that are of importance to understand how light is absorbed and converted into energy forms that can be used by man. We explore both natural systems as well as create devices in a model scale, partly mimicking or even improving the natural photosynthetic machineries, for the production of usable energy.

The ‘Artificial Leaf Project Umeå’ was formed in 2011 and is supported until 2016 by a 40,3 MSEK grant of the the Wallenberg Foundation. In this project we develop a leaf-like membrane that, when immersed in water and exposed to sun light, will split water and evolve oxygen on one side, and hydrogen on the other. Such an ‘artificial leaf’ opens the road for cheap off-grid fuel production that allows powering houses, cars and small transportable devices.

The MicroBiorefine project was formed recently (in 2015) with the total project’s budget about 23 MSEK mainly supported by the Energimyndigheten. This project brings together expertise in different disciplines and utilizes advanced analytical and bioanalytical methods, as well as unique opportunities to combine algal/cyanobacterial cultivation in pilot scale associated with wastewater and processes in power plants. Seven research teams at Umeå University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå and Luleå University are executing the project, which is also linked to infrastructural resources at the SP Technical Research Institute. The project will result in new fundamental knowledge of photosynthetic microorganisms from northern habitats and opportunities to exploit their unique properties in the development of resource-efficient processes for a biobased society.